Arrantzaleak, 1950. Bermeoko Udal Artxiboa.

Fishers, 1950. Municipal Archive of Bermeo.

The Feast Day of St. Simon and St. Jude, on 28 October, seemed to have been the watershed between summer and winter for our forebears.  Indeed, the saying goes “St. Simon and St. Jude, summer has ended and winter is here”.

Later and based on that idea, Gabriel Aresti wrote a poem, that Xabier Lete popularised and which would make him famous.


Laderas de Eneabe. Ubide (Bizkaia), diciembre de 1996. José Ignacio García Muñoz. Archivo Fotográfico Labayru Fundazioa.

Slopes of Eneabe. Ubide (Bizkaia), December 1996. José Ignacio García Muñoz. Labayru Fundazioa Photographic Archive.

Spring-summer transhumance and transterminance, both implying movement of flocks to high pastures, were defined and dealt with in a previous post published on 17 May 2019.

With winter approaching, herds are brought down from the highlands, since adverse weather hamper the stay. And as the vegetative growth of grass stops or slows down due to cold winter temperatures, and there is not enough pasture in the lower valleys, herds are moved towards coastal areas, where milder temperatures prevail, or to warmer innermost regions of the country, such as the Royal Bardenas, frequented by most Pyrenean flocks, or even as far as Ebro Valley. (more…)

Frosted oak leaves. Akaitze Kamiruaga

Akaitze Kamiruaga. Labayru Fundazioa Photographic Archive.

Winters are much milder than in times past. Frosts were more frequent then, and it used to snow more than it does now, according to numerous ethnographic testimonies.

Except for sudden, exceptional episodes of severe weather caused by so-called polar vortices, prolonged spells of ice and snow have all but vanished for much of the territory, and snow today lies for a couple of days and melts away. (more…)

Flock of sheep grazing in Mount Oiz (Bizkaia), 2002. José Ignacio García Muñoz

Flock of sheep grazing in Mount Oiz (Bizkaia), 2002. José Ignacio García Muñoz. Labayru Fundazioa Photographic Archive.

It being such a rainy winter in our country, I have been reminded of a legend retold by shepherds in the course of fieldwork conducted in localities bordering Mount Oiz in 1997. Neither too much rain nor too much sun are indeed known to be beneficial to pastures and soils. (more…)