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Basque culture to be celebrated at 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in D.C.

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Basque culture to be celebrated at 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in D.C.

Young Homedale dancers sing at the Idaho Expo.

Young Homedale dancers sing at the Idaho Expo.

Young Homedale dancers sing at the Idaho Expo.

Young Homedale dancers sing at the Idaho Expo.

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The Basque language and culture will be celebrated at the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the top street festival in Washington D.C.

The 2016 Folklife Festival will take place Wednesday, June 29, through Monday, July 4, and Thursday, July 7, through Sunday, July 10.

The festival will be located on the National Mall, between Fourth and Seventh streets, adjacent to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Admission to the festival is free and hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with special evening events beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Festival is co-sponsored by the Regional Government of Biscay and presented in partnership with the National Park Service.




The festival is highlighting the Basques because of their unique identity as one of the oldest communities in Europe. The festival will also focus on the Basque language, Euskera, which ws once on the brink of extinction and is now an example of successful language revitalization, according to a news release from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival website. The festival program will host musicians, cooks, language experts, and more from the Basque Country to explore themes of cultural sustainability, identity, and migration. Basque-American groups will participate as well.

“Celebrating Basque culture at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an important opportunity to bring forth compelling stories of cultural heritage, vitality and resilience,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), a Basque American who represents California’s Third District. “These are American stories, too. I’m delighted that Festival visitors will also experience Basque traditions that remain an integral part of this country’s cultural landscape.”

The program will be curated by cultural and linguistic revitalization specialist Mary Linn and folklorist and ethnomusicologist Cristina Díaz-Carrera.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Basque culture to be celebrated at 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in D.C.”

  1. Louise Indart on January 9th, 2016 8:50 am

    I am 71 year old French Basque born in California. My parents came from France and my deceased husband was born in France, also Basque. I have been very active in Basque dancing. My husband formed the first Basque Klika, a drum and bugle corp. I speak Basque and so does my daughter, who was born here. There are 7 provinces between France and Spain but I don’t think you are giving the representation of all the provinces which I don’t think is fair. I was thinking about coming to Washington DC, but I will not come if you are not representing the whole Basque people and I will tell all my Basque friends not to go. I am a member of the Southern California Basque Club. I would love to come to the Smithsonian, but you need to do your research and represent all the Basque People. Thank You,
    Louise INDART

  2. Jone Miren Arrasate Usobiaga on July 6th, 2016 8:58 am

    I am so excited that we Basques will be able to celebrate our culture and traditions in Washington DC.
    I am Basque born and raised, from Mutriku (Gipuzkoa) I came to the states 28 years ago because my husband is American. I live in Pennsylvania. I speak Basque and talk to my kids in Basque and feel so happy to see my country represented in this festival.
    I am planning to be there this coming weekend!!!!
    Jone Miren Arrasate Usobiaga

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Basque culture to be celebrated at 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in D.C.