Photo credit: Iker Uthurralt.

As summer gives way to autumn, the farming and livestock cycle follows its course in Zuberoa. The sheep are brought down from the mountain uplands and are sheared on days known as Bixkarka. The first lambs will be born in the folds during the coming weeks. When it comes to the crops, the corn cobs have filled out and ripened after several months of growth and will be harvested in October and November; and the apples, pears, sweet chestnuts and walnuts will be gathered from the fruit trees, along with grapes from the vines.

Some people believe that the kiwi is a winter fruit, but we should point out it is an autumn one, as that is when it is harvested. The characteristic appearance of the kiwi is down to the heat of the summer, but it is the chill of the autumn nights that causes the sugar to form in this fruit from New Zealand. They are ready to be harvested when the sugar has reached the desired level.


La pastoral suletina de 2018 escenificación popular de la historia del caballero de Bela. Fotografía de Gilles Choury

The 2018 pastoral of Zuberoa: popular staging of the story of the chevalier de Béla. Photograph by Gilles Choury taken from

The 2018 pastoral play will be performed in Mauléon-Licharre on 29 July and 5 August and tells the story of one of its most illustrious sons: Jean-Philippe de Béla, born on 8 July 1709 and known as le chevalier de Béla.

At the age of eighteen he departed from Mauléon to enrol Louis XV of France’s army and in 1731 was sent to Sweden as an undercover agent. He was appointed lieutenant colonel, later a member of the order of St Louis, and had a somewhat troubled military career, taking an active part in the Polish and Austrian succession wars. (more…)