36 Maskarada Joseba AurkenerenaHowever, the most famous Carnival celebration is, perhaps, the Maskarada feast organized in some places of Zuberoa, and which deserve prime attention from our part. The Maskarada is mostly celebrated in the mountainous areas of Zuberoa. The responsibility for the organization of the festival rotates annually from village to village. This event perfectly blends in dance, music and popular theatre.

Two groups take part in the Maskarada: Gorriak (Reds) and Beltzak (Blacks). Gorriak are Txerreroa, Gatuzaina, Kantiniersa, Zamalzaina, Jauna and Anderea, Laborari and Laborarisa, Marexalak, KukulleroakKarestuak, Xorrotxak, Buhameak, Kauterak (Pitxu is a popular member, and their leader is Kabana), Medizia and Botikariak… are, in turn, part of the Beltzak team.

There are also other characters that have occasionally showed up (Hartza, Axuriak, Artzaina…). The personality of each character is defined by its image or stage presence, its way of dancing, its talking style…

After the morning session and the lunch time meal, Bralia and other dances are performed in the village square. Later come the dancing and performing by Gorriak and Beltzak: Marexalak, Kerestuak, Satan-dantza, Xorrotxak, Gabota, Buhameak, Godalet-dantza, Kauterak

At this point of the act Pitxu’s significance comes to show. Pitxu’s first appeareance took place the moment the Xorrotxak leader repeatedly called Hou, Pitxu, hou! requiring the character’s presence in the square. Pitxu entered the scene encouraged by the boisterous audience. He wears a mask and sports a fox’s tail.

Pitxu dies towards the end of the performance, and his will is read out. Finally, the character returns to life. At this stage the masquerade shows evident features of carnavalization in the way people, both common and highbred, are constantly criticized and made fun of.

Once Pitxu comes back from the dead a last song is sung, and dancers and villagers join in the final dance of the Maskarada.