ARGIZAIOLA - EXPLICATION
The argizaiola is a Wood plank that is placed on the sepulture of the family and is rolled with a large and fine candle called argizaria. The traditional argizaiola used to have a handle but later appeared more simples or without carving. The use of the argizaiola (since the XVI century) concentrated above all in Gipuzkoa and in the north of Navarra, in the other areas of the Basque Country argizaria directly or fuesas are being used. All of them, with the same simbology.
Like in the old memorial stones, the argizaiolas´ form is anthropomorphic, this is because represents the body of the died person. Most of them do not have more than 50 cm length and the thickness is between 2-4 cm.
The candle used to be lighted during the funeral of the dead person and the argizaiola (the carrier of the houses´ symbolic fire) is collocated during the next year on the family’s sepulture (called jarleku or sepulturie), and is lighted during the mass. After these year, the argizaiola is being used lighting the candle during some concrete days (anniversary…): that’s the way to remember the dead person. Women are the ones who take care of the argizaiola , they are the owners of the jarleku. During the mass, men have their place on the second floor.
The candle represents the sacred fire of the house in the sepulture that each house or family has inside of the church. The house was sacred, inside of it burns the sacred fire, old symbol of the family.
Before burying inside the churches (XIII-XIV century) the habit was to bury inside the house or in the vegetable patch. When they start burying inside the churches, each house had its sepulture marked on the flour. House and sepulture get joined for ever: even if the house is sold, the sepulture goes with it. This jarleku is going to be kept after the creation of the cemeteries. Because of unhealthy reasons and the need of more space, during the end of the XVIII century started to bury inside the cemeteries. The union between house-fire was assimilated by the Christians with the union between the sepulture-candle. The old idea of fire, the houses´ light, is accommodated to the Christian religion and inside the church: the lights that light up the argizaiola on its jarleku, are useful to light the dead person.
In the Basque Country, like in another countries, the use of light as an offer to the deads is from prehistoric times. Deads need help to go to their new situation and it has being done since long ago, giving bread, light, animals, with cremations…