The global COVID-19 crisis is affecting all aspects of life, from the terrible, tragic loss of loved ones to the horrendous economic and social impact of the safety measures, even the “everyday ones”, which are necessary to prevent the crisis from turning into a health disaster.
Among these last points are the events traditionally organized by the Basque Communities throughout the world, at home and abroad. This year, Basques will most likely have to watch as their traditional summer festivals, from July’s Sanfermines to August’s Aste Nagusia in Bilbao, are not held.
The situation is the same in the Basque Communities outside the homeland. For example, Boise’s Jaialdi 2020 is now Jaialdi 2021, and others are being outright canceled, all over the world.
In Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, which is the country with the largest number of Basques (even more than in the Basque Country), they’ve decided to tackle the situation from a different angle.
Buenos Aires Celebrates the Basque Country has been held there every year since 2009. In it, the city’s Vice Secretary of Human Rights and Cultural Plurism, through the Directorate General of Collectivities, pays homage to the Basque Community. This event is organized with the Basques of Buenos Aires, as well, through the Laurak Bat Basque Center, which we’ve spoken of before.
It seemed inevitable that this event, which would draw huge crowds of tens of thousands of Argentines and Basques from Argentina and elsewhere would have to be canceled.
Well, no. It’s going to happen. But not in the usual way, because that would be not only illegal, but also irresponsible. It’s going to held online, so it can reach every home.
On Sunday, May 10, at 12:00 noon Buenos Aires time (11AM in New York, 17:00 in the Basque Country), all Basques and lovers of everything Basque may join in and take part in this event through the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Laurak Bat and Buenos Aires Celebra al País Vasco – Laurak Bat.
At this year’s Buenos Aires Celebra País Vasco 2020, many important figures will appear, include a greeting from the Lehendakari; more than 30 dantzari groups from South America, choirs, chefs with recipes, Basque stories, music groups, sports, and more. There will also be raffles, stories and arts and crafts for the youngsters, explanations about different aspects of Basque culture and traditions, just for starters.
There will also be a ceremony to pay homage those who’ve died for Basque Freedom and in memory of the Bombing of Guernica with the showing of a video performance of “Gernika: Marcha Fúnebre sobre Texto de Nemesio Etxaniz (Funeral March based on Texts by Nemesio Etxaniz)” by Pablo Sorozabal in the CCK, directed by maestro Xabier Iñaki de Arza with the Denak Bat Chamber Group, the Lagun Onak Choir, the Todos los Santos Choir, and I Cantori della Colombo. This work will be moving for all Basque patriots, and for anyone with a sensitive heart.
They’re putting the final touches on the extraordinary and ample program of activities, but it still gives you a good idea of the amazingly beautiful range of everything that we Basques are, and of the commitment the Basques of Argentina and the whole Diaspora have. And it’s all going to be within reach, live (or recorded), for the whole world.
Next year, the Buenos Aires Celebra al País Vasco festival will again be held in downtown Buenos Aires, with tens of thousands of people in attendance, and, we’re sure, the online attendance of so many Basques all over the world, thanks to the amazing experience we’re going to have this year.
This is how you turn a problem into an opportunity.
Zorionak for having this great idea, and especially for having the courage to make it come true. We’ll be here/there!
Where to get more information and find out how to join in, starting Sunday at 12:00 Buenos Aires time (11:00 am New York, 17:00 Bilbao):
Facebook Laurak Bat Center
Instagram Laurak Bat Center
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