Tag: korrika

April 7, 2011: Korrika kicks off in…. Burgos?

Street sign in Basque and Spanish in Trebiñu-Treviño, Burgos. Picture by Assar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Street sign in Basque and Spanish in Trebiñu-Treviño, Burgos. Picture by Assar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I hope everyone has gotten their running shoes on because we’re coming to the exciting finale of Korrika 21 right now in the Basque Country. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, check out our posts on Korrika, in 2015, in 2017, and even the 2017 edition in Reno. But did you know that, on April 7, 2011 Korrika 17 started Trebiñu-Treviño, an enclave of Burgos entirely surrounded by Araba? While many people in this enclave would like to become a formal part of the Basque Country, to date it remains officially part of the province of Burgos in the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. To the best of our knowledge, then, this is the only time Korrika has started (or indeed finished) outside of Euskal Herria. Now there’s a good fact to impress your friends with the next time you play Basque trivia!

Korrika 20 wraps up in the Navarrese sunshine

The logo of Korrika 20

The 20th edition of Korrika, the epic fun run and relay that traverses the Basque Country every couple of years to raise awareness about the Basque language,  wrapped up yesterday, Sunday April 9, in the bright sunshine of Iruñea-Pamplona with what is already being termed a “historic” turnout of thousands of people. Beginning on March 30 in Otxandio, Bizkaia, the run came to its conclusion yesterday in the Navarrese capital at approximately 12:30. Following this, a message from inside the baton, which had been passed on from runner to runner over the previous days, included some recorded words from the writer Joseba Sarrionaindia, who spoke of Euskara, the Basque language, as a “universal treasure” that we should all protect. For him, if a language disappears, then an entire worldview disappears with it, a unique way of viewing the world and experiencing its many facets.

Check out some photos capturing the excitement of the event courtesy of the Diario de Navarra here.

And check out the official song, a specially commissioned track for the event, below.


Check out, too, Teresa del Valle’s Korrika: Basque Ritual for Ethnic Identity.

Korrika 2017: Route and details announced!

The route and details of the 20th edition of the Korrika have just been announced. This is a biannual sponsored run that winds its way all over the Basque Country aiming to raise awareness of the reality of the Basque language as well as funding for adult learning centers for learning Basque. The non-stop 24-hour run is divided up into individual kilometers, with a special baton being passed on from participant to participant along the way.  Come rain or shine (quite often the former … it is the Basque Country, in spring, after all) the run goes on, night and day, until it reaches its chosen destination, where a previously secret message is taken from the baton and read to the amassed crowd.


The 2017 route, from the Korrika website (click on image to enlarge).

This year’s edition will cover 2000 kilometers (approximately 1,243 miles) in eleven hectic days between March 30 and April 9. The slogan for the event this year is “Batzuk” (some) as a play on words between bat (one) and zuk (you), as a symbol of how the Basque language can bring everyone together as one. The event kicks off in Otxandio (Bizkaia) and winds up in Iruñea-Pamplona and thousands are expected to attend and participate. Funds are raised by people “purchasing” individual kilometers, buying merchandise, or just making one-off donations.

This is a great celebration of the Basque language and what it means to be Basque in which anyone and everyone, whether they speak Basque or not, is encouraged to come along, either physically or in spirit, virtually, via the web. We at the Center encourage everyone, wherever you are, to get involved. Why not even organize your own Korrika?

Information and merchandise is available from the 2017 Korrika website here.  And don’t forget to check back in regularly between now and March for updates and further news!

And for a great explanation of the history and meaning of the Korrika, see Teresa del Valle’s Korrika: Basque Ritual for Ethnic Identity.


Hammer of Witches and the Korrika with Begoña Echeverria


Begoña Echeverria is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside

Could you tell us about the tour and the premise of your book The Hammer of Witches?

Certainly. My novel is loosely based on the 1610 burnings of Basque “witches” in Logroño, Spain: six people were burned alive and five in effigy.  Their crimes? Offering children to Satan, partaking in masses and sexual escapades with the devil, feasting on dead witches and human children, and concocting powders to destroy enemies or crops.

While too late for the Basque “witches” burned that day in Logroño, the Inquisition would eventually conclude that these charges were nonsense, that “there were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about.”  For the Inquisition had used violence to get people to accuse themselves and others: An agent of the Inquisition had tied his sixteen-year-old nephew naked to a bed and beaten him until he admitted to being a witch. Another man had held a dagger to his daughters’ throats until they confessed and named other witches – because if the girls did so “voluntarily,” they would not be punished. Still others had been bribed.  A shepherd boy said two women had given him money and a shirt to accuse another woman of taking him to a witches’ gathering; they coached him to name the people he had seen there.  Accustomed to eating only maize, other children had been given good food and drink by the interrogators themselves to answer their leading questions.

So that is the background for The Hammer of Witches. Fortunately for me as a writer – and unfortunately for the Basques burned that day – the Inquisitors were very proud of what they were doing and wrote everything down. Most of the documents I use in the novel are historical, though all the characters are fictional. I essentially have the characters respond to the events swirling around them in different ways, depending on their position in that society at that time.

I try to give a taste of this on my book tour: in addition to reading excerpts from the novel itself, I show images of the people, places, artifacts, and documents pertinent to the historical case. My latest stop on the tour was Denver, where I shared my story with members of the Colorado Euskal Etxea. My next reading will be on May 22 in Bakersfield, right before their annual picnic.  But in March my book tour took me to  Washington, D.C; New York City; Boise and Homedale, ID; Ontario, OR; and Sydney, Australia. Most stops have been in the Basque Clubs in those communities, but I will also be speaking to a book club in Santa Cruz about The Hammer, and gave a presentation at the Instituto Cervantes while I was in Sydney. I’ve been wanting to travel to Australia for a long time, so it was great to have this excuse to finally go.

We heard you have recently run in a Korrika.  Where was this run and why did you run it there?  Yes – that was a nice surprise!   I stepped off the plane and walked the Korrika over the Sydney Habour Bridge right away! So either it was serendipity or excellent planning on [Sydney Basque Club] Gure Txoko’s part.  Either way, it was a great experience.


Hammer of witches

Korrika 2015 Is Here!

korrika 2015

Korrika engages Basques of all ages and around the world in support of Euskara! An image from today’s beginning of the Korrika from enterat.com.




The Route for the Nineteenth Edition of the Korrika, 2015 (www.korrika.eus)

March 19 sees the start of the biannual Korrika, a fun-run that seeks to raise awareness about Euskara (Basque)  and raise funds for schools aimed specifically at adult learners of the language. This year’s nineteenth edition of the relay, in which multiple runners take part at any one time, is a nonstop run crisscrossing the whole Basque Country over the course of eleven days and over 1000 miles. Designated runners pass on a baton, carrying a secret message inside that is only revealed and read out at the end of the run. This year’s event starts in Urepele and finishes in Bilbao on March 29, but multiple parallel celebrations have been and will also be held all over the world, from Boise to Berlin, Montreal to Montevideo, and Shanghai to Sydney.


Worldwide celebrations being held for Korrika 2015 (www.korrika.eus)

For an appreciation of the history and cultural significance of the event, see Teresa del Valle’s Korrika: Basque Ritual for Ethnic Identity.

If you’re interested in learning more about Basque, one of the few tongues in Europe to predate the arrival of Indo-European-speaking peoples six thousand years ago, check out the following books:

Koldo Mitxelena: Selected Writings of a Basque Scholar, compiled and with an introduction by Pello Salaburu, a selection of texts on the history and structure of the Basque language by the most renowned scholar of Euskara.

The Dialects of Basque by Koldo Zuazo, which explores the fascinating dialectical variety of the language and is the first study of its kind in English, including in-depth case studies of particular dialects.

The Challenge of a Bilingual Society in the Basque Country, edited by Pello Salaburu and Xabier Alberdi, a collection of texts by experts in the field of Basque that explores the current bilingual situation in the Basque Country and the challenges Euskara faces looking toward the future.

Language Rights and Cultural Diversity, edited by Xabier Irujo and Viola Miglio, the collected papers of a conference exploring the many facets of language rights and language protection from a variety of theoretical, legal, and academic perspectives.