Arizkun festival, Spain

ArizkunFestival_JohnBeech

On midsummer night, the Basque village of Arizkun is the place to be: that is if you fancy running along the streets and jumping over more than 20 bonfires.

The ritual fire jumping and wider fiesta go back to pagan times, part of a celebration to scare off monsters and evil spirits as well as encourage fertility.

Hundreds of people descend on the village – hardly any are foreign tourists – to enjoy the fire leaping followed by a traditional pageant depicting the conquest of a marauding bear.

Be on your guard however, because part of the proceedings involves the Ioaldunak, a group of fierce-looking men in strange, Honey Monster-like costumes toting huge cowbells, who stomp along the streets in two columns and don’t stop for anyone who gets in the way. Morris dancers they are not!

Written by - Photo by John Beech

Readers who enjoyed
this article also liked:

  • Spam Museum, Minnesota

    No, this is not a tribute to unwanted email. It’s a celebration of everybody’s favourite canned meat – Spam. Well, OK maybe not everybody’s.

  • YHA Christmas, England

    The idea of dormitories, bunk beds, queues for breakfast and communal TV rooms may not give you a glowy Christmas feeling, but you’d be surprised.

  • Ice hotel, Sweden

    Some people will go to any lengths for a place to chill out, even staying in sub-zero rooms made from blocks of ice.

Discuss

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close