First held in 1987, Jaialdi is the United States’s largest Basque festival and takes place in Boise every five years. Through vivid photography and a recounting of personal interviews with event founders and organizers, Jaialdi: A Celebration of Basque Culture provides a stunning account of how the ancient traditions of these industrious people are showcased through the activities and events of Jaialdi.
Organized and staffed entirely by volunteers, Jaialdi attracts 35,000 to 50,000 visitors from around the world. Attendees enjoy festivities featuring Basque culture, including dancing, music, food, and competitive feats of strength. Photographer Jon C. Hodgson captures the spirit and merriment of the festival in vivid detail, taking readers on a journey into the heart of Basque culture. Coupled with author Nancy Zubiri’s observations from her own attendance at nearly every Jaialdi since 1987, the book reveals how Boise’s Basque community has committed to host the festival and why the celebration remains so popular today.
The Basque diaspora to the United States began in the late 1800s when these determined immigrants came seeking a new life filled with opportunities. Many were sheepherders who adapted to American life while maintaining their ties to the traditions of the Basque Country. Jaialdi: A Celebration of Basque Culture illuminates how this festival honors these traditions and captures the essence of the ancient Basque people, who are preserving their heritage while embracing life in the twenty-first-century West.
“Nancy Zubiri’s interviews bring out the voices of the actors who have made Jaialdi such a success. All these voices are woven together into a narrative that is nicely structured into theme-based sub-chapters. It is a very enjoyable read, and transmits vividly the people’s enjoyment and dedication to the festival and its Basque culture.”
—Mariann Vaczi, assistant professor and director of graduate studies, University of Nevada, Reno Center for Basque Studies, author of Soccer, Culture, and Society in Spain: An Ethnography of Basque Fandom