Korrika

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Head of the 15th Korrika running through Soraluze

The Korrika, or Running, is an exhibition race held bi-annually in the Basque Country in order to celebrate and support the Basque language.

The race is organized by the AEK, Basque acronym for the Coordinator of Literacy and Basque Promotion, and is usually scheduled to last two weeks. The first Korrika took place in 1980, and every race follows a different course, although it always endeavours to cover a significant proportion of the historical Basque territories. The race, which proceeds continuously without even stopping at night, usually has participation levels of about 600,000 people. In order to raise funds for the promotion of the Basque language, each kilometre of the race is 'sold' to a particular individual or organization, who will be the figurehead of the race during their purchased kilometre. This race leader relays an engraved wooden stick, preserved from the first race held, and adorned with the Basque flag or Ikurriña.

Behind the race leader, the immediately following participants carry a banner bearing the race slogan Euskal Herria euskalduntzen. Ni ere bai! (Spreading the Basque language in the Basque Country. Me too!) The race is conducted in an extremely jovial, uncompetitive spirit, accompanied by music and general fanfare, with roads thronged with spectators. During the period, a great many cultural activities are organised to promote the use of Basque, with the support of the Royal Academy of the Basque Language.

The special theme of the race's 15th edition in 2007 was a tribute to Basque women and the unique role they have played in guaranteeing the language's preservation. The last Korrika started in Tudela (Navarre) on March 2009, and finished in Vitoria-Gasteiz on the 5th April. The slogan was Ongi etorri euskaraz bizi nahi dugunon herrira (Welcome to the country where we want to live in Basque).

2011´s Korrika will be held from the 7th April to the 17th April, from Trebiñu (Burgos) to Donostia (Gipuzkoa). The slogan is "Maitatu, ikasi, ari,...euskalakari" (Love it, learn it, speak it,...euskalakari). It wants to be an homage to all those people who love the Basque language, learnt it or are learning it now, and use it. Euskalakari is a word invented for this event, to represent the persons mentioned.

Spin-offs[edit]

The Korrika has since inspired similar events in other European countries:

References[edit]

External links[edit]