Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Olentzero, a different Santa Claus

Olentzero basque Santa ClausOlentzero basque Santa ClausWho says Santa Claus has to have red clothes and a big white beard?
Maybe it is a bit late to write about Olentzero, the basque Santa Claus, but it is such a nice tradition, I'll do it anyway. Olentzero comes from the basque village Bidassoa. He is a coalminer. Right before Christmas, he comes down from the mountain to distribute firewood to poor people, to not have anybody freezing during the Christmas celebration.

Today he still comes, riding on a pottok, a small mountain poney, with candy and gifts for the children. From being a local tradition, it now concerns the whole Pays Basque. Children come by groups, singing and asking for money, with Olentzero as a doll on a chair.

There are of course many variations on the story, one for each village...

The first picture shows what he looked like in a shop window in Hondarribia, on the Spanish side of Pays Basque. The second picture comes from Wikipedia.


  1. Wow, yes this seems to be really "savoir-vivre"! Congratulations to this most inspiring site!! /Christina from Sweden

  2. Hello Christina! Thank you very much, I'll try to keep up the savoir vivre spirit....!

  3. Hi Eva
    I admired your site in swedish and now I also say wow for your english one.I which I had more time so I could read all your articles and perhaps do some writing on my own blogg.


Hi! Please say hello! It is so nice to see if somebody has read a post!

Related Posts with Thumbnails