It is a shrill, sonorous, prolonged, one-breath cry that shepherds like to make resound on the flanks of the mountains and that the Basques in general are happy to utter as a sign of joy. The formidable, totally spontaneous irrintzi, launched by an itxasotar in the Rue de Victor Hugo, became famous when the news of the armistice of 11 November 1918 was announced in Bayonne at eleven o'clock in the morning, whose resonant and harmonious bursts ended in wild cascades, to the general astonishment of the many witnesses to this manifestation of joy. Duvoisin believes that this cry goes back to the most remote antiquity and that the Hebrews would have already used it. Today, the Arabs make a similar sound. Chaho, for his part, in Ariel of 13 April 1845, cites nineteen other cries, as follows: A shout, khereillu. A confused cry, karraxia. A cry to call, oihu. A cry to wake up, dei. A cry of alert, hela. A cry of lamentation, auhendu. A cry of horror, orroko. A cry of pain, marraka. A tearful cry, marraska. A choked cry, marruma. A cry of distress, heiagora. A cry of alarm, deihadarra. A howling cry, uhuri. A roaring cry, marrobia. A shout of jubilation, sinkha. A shout of laughter, irrintzina. A shout of joy, kikisai. A cheer, hozengu. A collective shout, dundura.

The irrintzi can still be heard at festivals, pilgrimages and other demonstrations of joy. According to the chroniclers of the Middle Ages, the prolonged cries of the highlanders frightened the Muslims. The irrintzi probably had a psychological effect before battles.

Refs. Daranatz, J. B. : Curiosités du Pays Basque, I (p. 258) Bayonne, 1927.

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