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Blusas are Basque citizens who dress in the traditional clothes of the region and attend events in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country) such as the Virgen Blanca Festivities. The blusas assemble in groups called cuadrillas, and their main role is to provide entertainment at these events.
Etymologically, blusas comes from the Basque language and refers to the typical long shirts worn at the festivities. However, this word was a loanword from the Spanish blusa which describes the clothes worn in the countryside by farmers. It was also a loanword from the French blouse, which itself had a German origin.
The festivities in Vitoria-Gasteiz have a rural origin. It was originally held for attendance at los toros. Throughout history they have been developed in accordance with the population. Even though the beginning of the blusas tradition is pretty unknown, it is believed that it may have a direct relationship with the myth of Celedón. There are several versions of this story as the tale was passed down orally. However, two have been reckoned by the Basque traditions as the most reliable ones:
This emblematic character of the Basque was undoubtedly the origin of the festivities of Vitoria-Gasteiz. It is a mystery when did officially the blusas and neskas start with the tradition of dressing up but it is believed[by whom?] that at the very beginning, there used to be only men. However, those ancient characteristics have gradually changed up to the point that nowadays almost every cuadrilla are mixed. One curiosity could be that it is thought blusas have celebrated this tradition from its very beginning to nowadays inconstantly, but after the civil war and the time of the dictation this tradition disappeared for some years.
These groups are usually thought to be just the grouping of inhabitants in the festivities but it is far more than that. In fact, they give social aid by going to elderly's residences or organizing special events for children during the year. Also their brotherhood goes much further as in other festivities such as "San Prudencio" they also hang up. The cuadrillas, have the curiosity that inside them there are not real rules. Nevertheless, they do have some unwritten ones, which are given from the veterans to the freshmen. Besides, everybody has the opportunity to join these groups in exchange of some money.
Blusas are the main cheerleaders of festivals and thus, their routine is connected with it. During the corrida, they gather and parade near the bullring without entering. Their activities could be divided into two parts:
The blusas wear the typical rural attire the Araba natives once wore. The outfit consists of a shirt, a "blusa" (blouse), a pair of trousers and the "albarcas" whereas "neskak" wear a blouse, long skirt and "albarcas".