Sportplays a key role in Basque identity and there is one discipline that is pervasive in their popular culture: pelota. Basque pelota is a ball game derived from the ancient game of tennis. This sport, very popular throughout the Basque Country, is generally played in teams of two or more. Players play with bare hands or are equipped with a contraption similar to a basket or a big leather glove, of which there are many varieties. Each contraption corresponds to the specialty with which its name is associated: ball with bare hands, chistera, rebot or pala are some variations of the game. The most popular and likely the most spectacular is the variation played with bare hands.

STRENGTH GAMES

The rural sports are very popular in the Basque Country. The legendary strength of Basque men provides the pretext for spectacular events that have their origins in farm work. Historically, Basque strength games allowed farmers to measure their physical ability and endurance. Today, competitions are organized on the sidelines of celebrations in all regions of the Basque Country. Nearly 16 disciplines are officially registered. Among the most popular include tug of war, stone lifting, raising a bale of hay with a cable or at the end of a long stick, lumberjack competitions, and a race while saddled with an 80 kg bag.

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STRENGTH GAMES : A FAMILY AFFAIR

Every Basque festival is an opportunity to celebrate a well established tradition in Basque culture: rural sports.

Iñaki Perrurena and his son Ignacio have decided to transform these traditional activities into a professional endeavour. They travel from town to town to perform strength demonstration hailing from rural world of caserios, the Basque farms, which for years have been at the heart of Basque society.

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