By Sarah Keane •
Published: 11 Dec 2020 • 12:19
BASQUE Santa scolds children for writing to him in Spanish
El Olentzero, a Santa Claus with roots in the Basque Country, has said in an online letter that he must give children “a slap on the wrist” for writing their letters to him in Spanish. In an initiative designed to encourage children to interact with Santa electronically this year because of coronavirus restrictions, the Santa even hints that children won’t be granted their wishes if he can’t understand their letters.
The initiative comes from the Lejona City Council, whose mayor, nationalist Iban Rodríguez, highlights the need to make Christmas “special” for the little ones. His campaign, however, has generated controversy in the municipality, which is part of the Bilbao metropolitan area: “In the letter (from Olentzero) there is a clear and precise manipulation to eliminate Spanish as a language that my son has the right to speak and write”, said one outraged parent.
“We know that most of you know Basque but even so, we receive many letters in Spanish,” the Santa letter read. “We are left without being able to read them and without finding out about your wishes and adventures…”
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Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.
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