Marriage. That’s a hella Basque institution, isn’t it?
I’ve heard of young people in the Basque Country rejecting marriage, choosing cohabitation as the preferred way to form their relationships. But here in the United States, the Basque wedding is alive and well.
This past weekend in Chino, a woman I had just met wanted to know if I had my eye on anyone. She asked me if I wanted to marry a Basco. I joked with her, “Sure! But I haven’t met any worth marrying!”
What about you?
This question comes up several times in the life of a Basque American. I remember it was even a poll question posed to campers at music camp in 2002. The older generation always seems hopeful when they ask. You know they want you to say yes. They just want to see their culture preserved and perpetuated by the young people in the communities they worked so hard to build.
These are things that can be done without Basque intermarriage, but they might be more easily accomplished if we all kept it in the family, so to speak.
Even if we pretend marrying a Basco doesn’t matter or think cultural affinity is not a politically correct way to choose a mate, a lot of us would like to marry within our culture. Finding a Basque person to settle down with would make things easier.
Other Basques already know what to expect from your overbearing Aita(txi) or Ama(txi). They already have friends at Basque events, so you wouldn’t have to go through the routine of introducing them to the culture and to your social group. They could be your mus partner without hours of instruction ahead of time. They get the whole Catholic thing and know how to behave in church. You could easily agree that your children should join the local dance group, go to Udaleku, and learn how to play handball or pala.
These things seem superficial, but to some of us they are very important. Having a Basque partner means intimately understanding one another’s background and possibly less negotiating over cultural activities (in theory).
I am honored that this weekend I get to witness and celebrate the wedding of my friend, Jacqueline. We met as teenagers at Udaleku and over the years, we have: traveled to Boise for San Inazio weekend, worked at two Udalekus together, and run a half marathon with a couple of other friends to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of our friend, Jaime Brown.
Plain and simple, Jacqueline is an amazing person with whom I’ve shared some great and challenging experiences. She deserves all of the happiness in the world, and I’m sure her Amatxi and Aitatxi are pretty happy she found a nice Basque boy to marry.
Oh right. Did I mention she met her fiancé at Bakersfield picnic? How cute is that?
I am so happy to share in their joy and show my support for their union this weekend. So happy that I will take a three day break from posting on Hella Basque.
Congratulations, Jacqueline and Chris! May your life together be filled with love, caring, respect, and hella Basqueness.