There are many towns that celebrate carnival in a specific and special way in the Basque Country, for example Lantz, Mundaka or Markina-Xemein. In Gorliz, the inhabitants dress up these days and go out to the streets to enjoy.
Activities for these days
Some years, the Basque carnival of some towns is taken as a reference and it is recreated in Gorliz.
On the first day of the carnival a kalejira (parade) through the village is organized followed by dances and a chocolatada (hot chocolate for attendees).
The second day, children are the protagonists. A disco party and a chocolatada are held for them and they are also given a small gift if they show up in disguise. This day is followed by the Carnival Toasts contest and a very special day which is the fourth one, when the theme of the costumes is the carnival in the world. Here, the inhabitants of Gorliz disguise themselves as in a typical way of a chosen area and they go out to have some drinks in the bars of the village.
Next day, masks and accessories of carnival are made.
History of the Carnival
The carnival we know began in Roman times and, although it was pagans in origin, due to Christianity became a Catholic holiday. The ancient Roman carnival was similar to those we celebrate today, which means that the population dressed up and put masks on at parties where there was music, dance and drink.
In the Basque Country carnival is also celebrated and what makes it different from other territories is its tradition and variety. In fact, different parties are held in the Basque Country depending on the area and the village; each one has its own custom and main character. In some villages, there are people from who dress in sheep skins and carry two large cowbells attached to the body. These characters are called the “Joaldunak” and they go through the streets making the bells ring to ward evil spirits off and wake nature up. In others, however, they burn the doll that incarnates the main character of the holiday when the party ends making reference so that they get rid of the bad thing of all the year. There are more examples of different carnival festivals, such as “Atorrak” in Mundaka, “Miel Otxin” in Lantz or “Zagi Dantza” in Markina-Xemein.
All these celebrations proof that you can celebrate the same festival in very different ways.