At the start of the year, Soule becomes the center of Basque traditions as they once again begin to put on the popular shows that everyone who loves our culture and country should experience at least once: the Soule Maskarada.

And, as before, we’re covering it.  As we said last year, this way of celebrating Carnival, unique to Soule is, for us, doubly meaningful.  Firstly, it’s because of how the young people of Soule are working hard to preserve this tradition.  The second is that this tradition is being preserved in the smallest Basque territory in both size (760 km²/290 mi²) and population (about 17,000 residents).  That gives this Basque territory special meaning: so special, and which we’re so fond of, that we’ve even written that “if there’s anywhere where the Basques feel Basque, it’s in Soule.”

As the website Dantzan has published, the 15 Maskarada shows are the responsibility of the youth of Pagola.  The first and last shows will be in that town, and it will also visit 12 others: 11 in Soule and Donaixti in Lower Navarre.

    • Sunday, January 21: Pagola
    • Sunday, January 28: Ezpeize
    • Saturday, February 3: Maule-Lextarre
    • Sunday, February 11: Iruri
    • Saturday, February 17: Gamere-Zihiga
    • Saturday, February 24: Muskildi
    • Saturday, March 2: Donaixti
    • Sunday, March 10: Ligi-Atherei
    • Sunday, March 17: Idauze
    • Saturday; March 23: Aloze
    • Sunday, March 31: Barkoxe
    • Sunday, April 7: Larraine
    • Sunday, 14: Urdiñarbe
    • Sunday, April 21: Lakarri-Alza
    • Saturday, April 27: Pagola

This tradition, which was almost lost, has recovered its vitality thanks, in good part, to the drive of the youth of Soule to break with the “tradition” that only men could take part, and have brought back a great deal of vitality.  It turns out that this year, the leading role, Kabana, will, for the first time, be played by a woman: Ainara Aguerre Lacok.

This is one more proof of the fundamental role women play in the preservation and transmission of Basque culture, and not just now, but in all of history.

Our recommendation is that, if you can go to any of these shows, you should.  Soule in and of itself is worth the visit, but if these amazing shows are added to the mix, it’s a must-see.

We’ve written a lot about this part of our country, both the Maskarada and other places that are exceptionally beautiful in such a small territory.  Going through our articles, you can see that we’ve written, photographed, and filmed quite a lot.  And there’s so much more to tell.

At least one thing we can share today is the Viewpoints video from 2017 about the Maskarada.  It’s been a few years, but we are chomping at the bit to go back.  We loved it.

More information about the Soule Maskarada:

Auñamendi  –   – Euskadi


El pequeño territorio de Zuberoa ofrece al visitante la tranquilidad de sus villas y valles: el verdor de sus campos, su arquitectura típica y, como no, diversas celebraciones festivas que se extienden a lo largo de todas las estaciones del año en un ambiente distendido y cercano.

(Follow) (Automatic translation)

And for those who’d like to dig a little deeper, here’s some more reading about the Maskarada:

Euskal kultur erakundea (Iparralde)

La maskarada suletina


Hiru (Hegoalde)

Danzas de Iparralde




Ensayo sobre los orígenes de las Mascaradas de Zuberoa (Violeta Alford)

Last Updated on Feb 12, 2024 by About Basque Country

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