Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Red Bay's Basque Heritage

This note comes to us thanks to Northern Pen:

Busy summer ahead for Red Bay

Northern Pen

There'll be lots to do at the Red Bay National Historic Site this summer.

New this year is 'A Whaler and his Wife'. Told through the eyes of a woman, the story is about a woman who waited 18 months before finding out what had happened to her husband, a whaler who died in Red Bay. The story takes place in 1576-77.

On a broader scale, the story is about what women and families in the Basque country of Europe went through during the whalers' long absences. Specifically, the story is based on a will that a whaler left for his wife. He went whaling in the spring of 1576 and was supposed to return in the fall. He did and it wasn't until the fall of 1577 that she learned from whalers returning home to the Basque country that her husband had died in Red Bay.

Returning this season and during the months of July and August will be 'Echoes From the Past', which is a storytelling program. During the guided walks on Saddle Island, ghosts from the 16th century appear to visitors and explain to them what life was like for the Basque whalers during that period.

As well, there will be a full slate of activities planned around National Aboriginal Day, which is June 21. The details have yet to be finalized.

On July 1, Canada Day will be celebrated with a number of activities such as flag-raising and cake-cutting ceremonies and other activities. The festivities are in partnership with the Town of Red Bay.

The next event on the agenda is Parks Day on July 16, when a series of activities are planned to celebrate the occasion.

The Red Bay National Historic Site opened its doors on June 2 and will close on Oct. 3. The site commemorates 16th century Basque whaling in Canada and the role it played in the history of Canada.

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