This volume covers what traditionally were considered the three main stages of life: birth and childhood, youth, and married life.
The initial sections are dedicated to birth, childhood beliefs about where children come from, and the actual process of labour; first care, breastfeeding and beliefs related to the childbirth; baptism, offerings and gifts, hospitality to mark the baptism, and godparenthood; the postpartum period and requirements during the puerperium; welcoming of the newborn to the world and early childhood; and first communion and confirmation as rites of passage from childhood through adolescence into youth age.
A next part takes focus on youth and youth associations, particularly rooted in Álava and Navarre; dances, dance parties and popular festivities; compulsory military service; presentation of young women of a certain social standing to society; and start of the love relationship and courtship.
The following issues are subsequently accounted for: marriage settlements and their contents, marriage contract and dowry brought by the bride to her husband; wedding arrangements, including banns and publication of the banns, and stag and hen parties.
Finally, due attention is given to the wedding itself: wedding entourage, religious ceremony and civil marriage; entering the marital home, wedding cart and chattels; wedding reception, post-wedding offering and celebrations; and also unmarried status and celibacy, marriage of widows and widowers, and common-law unions.
Fieldwork conducted in 66 localities (Álava: 13; Bizkaia: 16; Gipuzkoa: 12; Navarre: 14; Northern Basque Country: 11). Research campaign carried out in 1992. Date of publication: 1998.