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Head of the 15th Korrika running through Soraluze
Kilometer 1942 of the 16th edition
Track of the 18th edition
Korrika 19, finishing in Bilbao
Head of the 20th Korrika running through Marieta-Larrintzar (42°56'25.5"N 2°33'50.1"W).

Korrika (Basque for running) is an exhibition race held bi-annually in the Basque Country in order to raise funds for the adult Basque-language teaching organization AEK.[n 1] It is one of the largest demonstrations gathering support for a language in the world,[1][2][3] covering a distance of 2.557 kilometres in 2017,[4][5] running day and night without interruption for 11 days. The Korrika is celebrated beyond its fundraising goal, encouraging, supporting and spreading the Basque language itself.[6]

This initiative, as well as the organization AEK itself, was founded by people concerned with the language.[7] It currently takes place in spring once every two years, with 2017 as its 20th edition.


The Basque Language is currently in a delicate and unsafe situation. Certainly, according to UNESCO, it is said to be in danger of extinction in various areas.[8] As a matter of fact, the Basque language is not considered an official language in certain areas.[9] However, this non-competitive relay race brings the whole territory together through a joyful and cheery atmosphere for the two weeks in which it is held.[10]

During Franco's dictatorship lasting for 40 years, the Basque language underwent a rapid decline through a long period of oppression.[11] Basque people were even punished by the Spanish police for speaking the only language they knew in public, arguing that it was a language contrary to modernization. Moreover, speaking Basque was also prohibited in schools, where children were often punished (even physically) if caught talking Basque.[12] A majority of linguists analyzing the situation agrees that the language policies applied by Spain and France against Basque have greatly damaged the position the language shows today.[11][13]

Concerned by the weakening of the language, people started creating clandestine organizations where Basque was taught.[14] The newly created Basque movement put together the association AEK for the teaching and alphabetization of the language. Once the dictatorship was over, a group of Basque innovators started working on the project that is nowadays one of the strongest held in the Basque territory: Korrika. Their main idea was to carry their claim across the territory, instead of concentrating all the people on the same area.[15] The first edition set off, among criticism on the 'foolishness' of the idea, in Oñati on November 29, 1980 and concluded on December 7th in Bilbao.[15]

Organization and procedure[edit]

Korrika is usually scheduled to last ten days. The first Korrika took place in 1980, and since, every race has followed a different route, although it always endeavours to cover a significant proportion of the historical Basque territories. The race, which proceeds continuously without even stopping during the night, has approximately a participation level of about 600,000 people.[16]

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.[17] This race leader relays a wooden baton, preserved from the first race held, and adorned with the Basque flag or Ikurriña. The first baton was designed by Remigio Mendiburu and it can be seen in San Telmo Museum, San Sebastián.[18] The current baton was designed by the sculptor Juan Gorriti. Every edition, the organizers of Korrika include a secret message in the baton, which is read at the end of the festival, after it has been passed hand by hand, through thousands of Basque speakers. It has always been considered an honour to carry the baton for which different organisations "buy" kilometres to support the Basque language as well as its supporter, AEK.

Behind the race leader, the immediately following participants carry a banner bearing the race slogan, that changeson every edition. The race is conducted in an extremely jovial, uncompetitive spirit, accompanied by music and general fanfare, with roads thronged with spectators. Each edition has its own song, made by different and recognized artists.[19] During the period, a great many cultural activities are organised to promote the use of Basque,[20] with the support of the Royal Academy of the Basque Language.


Since its inception Korrika has made a different course every time, with a motto and a song.[21]

Edition Date Route Motto Song
1 1980: November 29 - December 7 Oñati-Bilbao Zuk ere esan bai euskarari Xabier Amuriza[22]
2 1982: May 22 - May 30 Pamplona/Iruñea-San Sebastián/Donostia AEK, euskararen alternatiba herritarra and Korrika, herriaren erantzuna euskararen alde Akelarre[23]
3 1983: December 3–11 Baiona-Bilbao Euskaraz eta kitto! Egan[24]
4 1985: May 31 - June 9 Tardets-Pamplona/Iruñea Herri bat, hizkuntza bat! Lontxo Aburuza[25]
5 1987: April 3–12 Hendaye-Bilbao Euskara, zeurea Oskorri[26]
6 1989: April 14–23 Pamplona/Iruñea - San Sebastián/Donostia Euskara Korrika eta kitto and Euskal Herriak AEK Xanti eta Maider[27]
7 1991: March 15–24 Vitoria/Gasteiz-Baiona Korrika euskara, euskaraz Euskal Herria Irigoien Anaiak and Mikel Erramuspe[28]
8 1993: March 26 - April 4 Pamplona/Iruñea-Bilbao Denok maite dugu gure herria euskaraz Tapia eta Leturia[29]
9 1995: March 17–26 Donibane Garazi - Vitoria/Gasteiz Jalgi hadi euskaraz Maixa eta Ixiar, Alex Sardui, Kepa Junkera[30]
10 1997: March 14–23 Arantzazu - Bilbao Euskal Herria Korrika! Gozategi[31]
11 1999: March 19–28 Pamplona/Iruñea - San Sebastián/Donostia Zu eta ni euskaraz Joxe Ripiau[32]
12 2001: March 29 - April 8 Vitoria/Gasteiz - Baiona Mundu bat euskarara bildu Fermin Muguruza[33]
13 2003: April 4–13 Maule - Pamplona/Iruñea Herri bat geroa lantzen Mikel Laboa and Ruper Ordorika[34]
14 2005: March 10–20 Orreaga - Bilbao Euskal Herria euskalduntzen. Ni ere bai! Afrika Bibang[35]
15 2007: March 22 - April 1 Karrantza - Pamplona/Iruñea Heldu hitzari, lekukoari, elkarlanari, euskarari, herriari Niko Etxart and El Drogas[36]
16 2009: March 26 - April 5 Tudela - Vitoria/Gasteiz Ongi etorri euskaraz bizi nahi dugunon herrira! Betagarri[37]
17 2011: April 7–17 Treviño/Trebiñu - San Sebastián/Donostia Maitatu, ikasi, ari... Euskalakari Gose[38]
18 2013: March 14–24 Andoain - Baiona Eman Euskara Elkarri Esne Beltza[39]
19 2015: March 19–29 Urepele - Bilbao Euskahaldun Various artists[40]
20 2017: March 30 - April 9 Otxandio - Pamplona/Iruñea Bat Zuk Various artists[41]
21 2019: April 4-19 Gares - Gasteiz Klika Various artists


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


  1. ^ Basque acronym for Coordinator of Literacy and Basque Promotion


  1. ^ "Korrika: the world's biggest language festival?". openDemocracy. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  2. ^ "The biggest initiative in support of a language taking place in the Basque Country: Korrika". Argia (in Basque). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  3. ^ a b c "Ponerte en forma y ayudar a que un idioma no muera, todo a la vez". PlayGround Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  4. ^ "Korrika igandean amaituko da Foruen Monumentuaren ondoan" (in Basque). Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  5. ^ EiTB. "20. Korrikaren ibilbidea, herriz herri". www.eitb.eus (in Basque). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  6. ^ Amorrortu, Estibaliz (2003-01-01). Basque Sociolinguistics: Language, Society, and Culture. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9781877802225.
  7. ^ Valle, Teresa del (1994-01-01). Korrika: Basque Ritual for Ethnic Identity. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874172157.
  8. ^ "Atlas de las lenguas en peligro | Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura". www.unesco.org (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  9. ^ "Un colectivo reclama la oficialidad del euskera en Pamplona. Diario de Noticias de Navarra". www.noticiasdenavarra.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  10. ^ "Korrika 20, suma en euskera. Noticias de Gipuzkoa". www.noticiasdegipuzkoa.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  11. ^ a b Hualde, José Ignacio; Lakarra, Joseba A.; Trask, R. L. (1996-01-01). Towards a History of the Basque Language. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 9789027285676.
  12. ^ "TTarttalo - Narratiba - El libro negro del euskera - Joan Mari Torrealdai". www.ttarttalo.eus. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  13. ^ Urla, Jacqueline (1988-11-01). "Ethnic Protest and Social Planning: A Look at Basque Language Revival". Cultural Anthropology. 3 (4): 379–394. doi:10.1525/can.1988.3.4.02a00030. ISSN 1548-1360.
  14. ^ "ALFABETATZE EUSKALDUNTZE KOORDINAKUNDEA :: Auñamendi Entziklopedia :: Euskomedia". 2016-04-05. Archived from the original on 5 April 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-03.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ a b Berria. "Korrikaren hazia erein zutenei, uzta eskaini". Berria (in Basque). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  16. ^ "Atsedenik gabe korrika". Gaztezulo (in Basque). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  17. ^ "Ropa, bonos y kilómetros de Korrika a la venta para ayudar al euskera". diariovasco.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  18. ^ "#KORRIKA20". aek.eus (in French). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  19. ^ Aiora Probatxoa (2017-03-25), KORRIKAko abestien TAGa, retrieved 2017-04-03
  20. ^ irati. "A cambio, KORRIKA kulturala". www.korrika.eus (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  21. ^ Berria. "Denboraren lekukoa". Berria (in Basque). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  22. ^ MerkaldiTV (2013-03-17), Korrika 1 1980 Oñati - Bilbo, retrieved 2017-04-03
  23. ^ Txatxangorria-Euskal Karaokeak (2015-03-22), Korrikan (AKELARRE) korrika 2, retrieved 2017-04-03
  24. ^ Txatxangorria-Euskal Karaokeak (2014-10-23), Korrika -EGAN-, retrieved 2017-04-03
  25. ^ Korrika Karaokea (2017-02-28), Korrika 4 (Lontxo Aburuzaren Bertsoak), retrieved 2017-04-03
  26. ^ Korrika Karaokea (2017-02-28), Korrika 5 (Oskorri), retrieved 2017-04-03
  27. ^ Korrika Karaokea (2017-02-28), Korrika 6 (korrika koplak), retrieved 2017-04-03
  28. ^ "Korrika 7 (Korrika euskara, euskaraz Euskal Herria)". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  29. ^ Txatxangorria-Euskal Karaokeak (2015-03-21), Aide Korrika Korrika 8 (TAPIA eta LETURIA), retrieved 2017-04-03
  30. ^ Anbune (2015-09-01), Korrika 9 'Jalgi hadi euskaraz' (Garazi-Gasteiz, 1995eko martxoa) (3'12), retrieved 2017-04-03
  31. ^ ikbvideo (2013-03-20), Korrika 10 bideoklipa "Euskal Herria Korrika" Gozategi (1997), retrieved 2017-04-03
  32. ^ ZeruGorria (2010-11-23), korrika 11 (Joxe Ripiau), retrieved 2017-04-03
  33. ^ Gabi de la Maza (2012-03-29), Big Beñat (Fermin Muguruza, retrieved 2017-04-03
  34. ^ ikbvideo (2010-02-11), Korrika 13 bideoklipa "Gero bat gaurdanik" Mikel Laboa eta Ruper Ordorika (2003), retrieved 2017-04-03
  35. ^ Txatxangorria-Euskal Karaokeak (2015-03-21), Cançom da Korrika 14 (AFRIKA), retrieved 2017-04-03
  36. ^ Txatxangorria-Euskal Karaokeak (2015-03-20), Heldu - Korrika 15 (Niko Etxart), retrieved 2017-04-03
  37. ^ ikbvideo (2009-02-17), Korrika 16 bideoklipa "Ongi etorri lagun" Betagarri (2009), retrieved 2017-04-03
  38. ^ ikbvideo (2011-01-21), Korrika 17 bideoklipa "Euskalakari" Gose (2011), retrieved 2017-04-03
  39. ^ AEK (2012-12-03), Bagoaz! Esne Beltza Korrika 18ren bideoklipa (720p), retrieved 2017-04-03
  40. ^ AEK (2014-11-27), DENOK KORRIKARA, retrieved 2017-04-03
  41. ^ AEK (2016-12-14), 20. KORRIKA (BatZuk) ZIRKORRIKA ABESTIA, retrieved 2017-04-03
  42. ^ "Korrika, Rith, Rhas... - Redadeg". www.ar-redadeg.bzh. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  43. ^ "Correlingua, galizieraren aldeko Korrika • ZUZEU". ZUZEU (in Basque). 2015-05-06. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  44. ^ associats, Partal, Maresma i. "Desena Corsa Aran per sa Lengua". VilaWeb.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  45. ^ "The Irish Korrika has already begun: The Rith Race 2016 travels through Ireland in support of Gaelic". Euskal kultura. Retrieved 2017-04-06.

External links[edit]