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  • We have bonfires in Midsummer in Finland.

    This was the first time I had a chance to see a bonfire in Basqueland, Spain. It’s a rare habit there nowadays, from times before Christianity.

    We came 23th June to Mundaka, little fishing village by the Atlantic Ocean. In Mundaka there are only one thousand inhabitants and some surfers who have come to try left hand wave that is said to be best in whole Europe. Four meters high and four hundred meters long tube of water.

    During daytime women had carried old furniture to the rising rubbish heap. And mattresses, lots of mattresses, like they would like to burn their desperate love lifes with their mattresses.

    When the night falls they carry out the witch. Its huge, over four meters high creature with burning eyes. Village women start to follow the witch in their black dresses through the cobweb of narrow alleys like they were enchanted and chained. Some play their txistus, Basque flutes. There’s something very creepy in procession, it reminds me of old Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, Piper of Hameln, and how the piper lured with his flute all the children of Hameln away from town and they were never seen again.

    The procession takes a long time. It’s already past midnight when the witch appears to the harbour with all village women following. They carry her on the top of huge heap of planks, palm leaves and furniture and mattresses and lighten the fire. When first flames touch the witch village women are at once freed from they enchantment, they start to dance frantically hand in hand around the bonfire in the sound of txistus and drums. They don’t care about roaring flames or sparks.

    They never stop dancing and singing until the sunrise.

    Night is dead. Let there be light. Chains are broken. Let us be free. So they sing.
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