Boise Basques and non-Basques will celebrate St. Agueda again this year.
Saint Agatha of Sicily (died ca. 251) is a Christian saint. Her memorial is on 5 February. She was born at Catania, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
She is the patron saint of Catania, Molise, Malta, San Marino and Zamarramala, municipality of Segovia in Spain. She is also the patron of martyrs, wet nurses, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna.
Basques have a tradition of gathering on Saint Agatha’s eve (Santa Ageda bezpera in Basque) and going round the village. Homeowners can choose to hear a song about her life, accompanied by the beats of their walking sticks on the floor or a prayer for those deceased in the house. After that, the home-owner donates food to the chorus. This song has varying lyrics according to the local tradition and the Basque language.
The celebration will start on on Monday, February 3 at 7 PM at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center (611 Grove Street, 208/343-2671), then continue to the other Basque businesses on the Basque Block.
The Euskera students have been learning about the ancient celebration and have learned the traditional song that is sung door to door every year. This event is open to the public and we hope you will join us. We will provide the traditional sticks that accompany the song as well as the lyrics. Also, remember to wear blue and white!
Please feel free to invite anyone you’d like. We brought this tradition back to Boise a few years back now and we will like to make sure it continues for years and years to come.
- Digital communities of the Basque Diaspora: Interview with Pedro J. Oiarzabal (in Spanish)
- Auzolan: New Boise’s Basque Block Initiative