Sunday, 31 August 2008

ENG: The Best Human Towers of Catalonia




The Diada de Sant Fèlix, celebrated in Vilafranca del Penedès on August 30 every year, has developed into Catalonia’s leading annual exhibition of castells, human towers, and yesterday there was a lot to be excited about. Present were the current top groups of castellers Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls, Minyons de Terrassa, Castellers de Vilafranca and Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls. All four colles managed to assemble and dismantle (castell carregat and descarregat, respectively) towers of nine levels and were so motivated that the exhibition lasted for four hours.

By coincidence, my wife and I each managed to see one of the highlights of the day: From too far away, I could film the “tres de nou amb l'agulla” (3 people per level (except for the top) and 9 levels in total) dismantled into a pilar (1 person per level) by the Castellers de Vilafranca, while my wife saw the “cinq de nou amb folre” (9 levels, 5 people per level and a second support level at the base – quite literally one group of people standing on top of another group of people) by the Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls.

Both these castells were made for the first time this year and even my wife was carried away by the atmosphere, so we have decided to come back. However, next year we will plan things better. The Plaça de la Vila was packed with spectators and thus not a suitable place to bring children, as we first tried to do – to make matters worse, we had our smallest one in a push chair. Instead, we will find one of the cafés which shows the live broadcasting of the event, get a good table for the children and then take turns to see the exhibition live. We understand that many of the casteller families have already come to the same conclusion.



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For the record: At the 'Concurs de Castells' on the Plaça de Braus of Tarragona there are even more colles and the since it is a formal competition, top performance is guaranteed. This is a bi-annual event, so take note that the 22nd edition takes place on October 5 of this year.

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Earlier entry on la Festa de Sant Fèlix.

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Related media: Avui 1, LaVanguardia 1 and, of course, the Wikipedia entry castell’.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Festa, Penedès

Friday, 29 August 2008

SWE: Moixiganga - en udda katalansk dans



Av de folkdanser jag stött på i Katalonien är hittills moixiganga:n den mest underliga, vilket sannolikt beror på dess långa historia. Namnet tror man kommer från arabiskan och skall ha betecknat en grupp utklädda människor som utför en ceremoni. De brokiga, blomdekorerade kläderna antas bero på dansens ursprung som hednisk fruktbarhetsrit. Ljusen och formationerna, slutligen, är lättare att tolka eftersom de utgör ett passionskådespel om Jesu lidande och död och därför, under vissa tidsperioder, uppfördes inne i kyrkorna. En av de mest anrika grupperna (colla) är la Moixiganga de Sitges – i denna stad har dansen dokumenterat funnits med under Festa Major sedan 1853, men tros vara äldre.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

ENG: The Festa Major Program of Vilafranca del Penedès in English

Today the Festa Major administrators of Vilafanca del Penedès have finally published the program in Catalan for the celebration of Sant Fèlix, August 29 to September 2. Following the links to earlier editions I see that, before, efforts were made to guide foreigners to a presentation of the main events in English, but it seems that this stopped after 2005.

That is a pity for many reasons. Firstly, because this is Catalonia's most typical Festa Major (hence, "la més típica"). Secondly, because on Saturday at 12.30, Vilafranca will probably offer the best show of human towers (castells) to be seen this summer. The town’s Plaça de la Vila does, after all, claim to the best one for castellers (la més castellera) and since the local Castellers de Vilafranca has the support of other equally famous colles (the Minyons de Terrassa, Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls and Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls) we can expect towers with up to nine levels.

I will not make a full translation of the program into English, but have up-dated my Festa Major glossary with the new expressions I have learnt today, above all the names of dances: ball de cotonines, ball de figuetaires and ball de malcasats etc. With a beginners’ level of Spanish (or any other Romance language) and this support, you will be able to decipher what can be seen where and when.

If you currently visit the Costa Daurada (Costa Dorada, in Spanish) as a tourist, I warmly recommend you the festival of Vilafranca. From Sitges, Cubelles or Cunit you easily get there via the road C-15 from Vilanova. The drive is fast but I suggest that you start early. Parking will be scarce and – “since Catalonia is not Spain”, as many locals would tell you – the acts usually start more or less on time.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Festa, Penedès

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

SWE: Katalanska havaneres


Havanera är en musikstil som har sitt ursprung på Cuba. Katalaner som arbetade där på 1800-talet förde med sig den hit och de melankoliska tonerna skall ge uttryck för en längtan tillbaka. Traditionen lever framför allt vidare på tavernes i historiska fiskarsamhällen. I våra dagar sjungs många av sångerna på katalanska och kvällar med havaneres – enligt seden avslutade med ett glas bränd rom (rom cremat) - ingår på många ställen när man firar festa major.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

CAT: Petits suecs units contra el català

L’any passat el nostre fill gran va tenir por abans que tornés a l’escola y ens va dir que ja no sabia parlar el català. El primer día de l’any escolar vaig haver de deixar-lo plorant a les mans de la seva professora ja que no va voler entrar a la classe. Això, per sort, no passarà enguangy ja que espera la tornada amb molta il·lusió.

No obstant això, per a ell encara existeix una diferéncia important entre el suec i el català. Durant les nostres vacances, als parcs a Suècia va activament buscar el contacte amb nens desconneguts, cosa que no sol fer per aquí. Per això, ahir quan vaig portar els dos nens a una activitat infantil a un jardí a Sitges, no em va sorprendre quan va explicar-me que “parlo el catalán només amb els meus amics de l’escola”.

Quant al fill petit és cert que el seu suec ha millorat molt aquest estiu – ha connegut noves paraules i fa frases d’una manera més correcta, fins i tot va començar a utilitzar pronoms personals. Però, pot ser perquè va néixer a Catalunya, fins ara no ha demonstrat tenir preferències entre les llengües. Ahir, quan entravem al parc a Sitges, sí que ho va fer: “No parlaré amb ningú”, em va dir.

I així va ser. No va parlar amb ningú, es a dir, amb ningú menys amb el seu germà gran. Ells dos van escollir de jugar junts per no haver de canviar del suec al català. I a mi no em va molestar gens, en comptes vaig gaudir d’aquesta harmonía tan poc habitual. La millor raó per unir-se és de percebre una amenaça comuna. Sembla ser veritat no solament a la política però també a la meva família.

SWE: Kulturstaden Sitges




Sitges, Vilanovas mindre men mycket mer kända grannstad, erbjuder inte bara stränder och sol på en plats med en kompakt stadskärna och mycket historisk charm. En slarvigt påläst turist kan missa det, men det här är en ort där den katalanska kulturen verkligen lever. Dess festa major, stadsfest, anses vara en av de mest typiska och äkta och finns därför upptagen på Generalitats (Kataloniens högsta politiska organ) förteckning över traditionella fester av nationellt (läs: katalanskt, inte spanskt) intresse.

Festa major firades ursprungligen för att hedra en stads skyddshelgon. I Sitges fall heter han Sant Bartolomeu och festen till hans ära äger årligen rum från den 21:e till den 27:e augusti.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

ENG: A Festa Major Glossary

Catalan popular culture is, for quite obvious reasons, dominated by native speakers of Catalan and most official Festa Major programs do not come in other language versions. However, with some knowledge of any romance language and this Festa Major Glossary, you will be able to get most of the information. Find the background and the sources at the end of the word list.

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Actuació: Performance or a number during a performance.

Agrupació de balls populars: An entity formed with the purpose to preserve and spread the knowledge of traditional Catalan folkdances.

Àliga:
Eagle - a popular caracter in the bestiari of many towns. Only the Eagle of Sitges spits fire. (YouTube)
Amparitos: Spanish for keepers – those who take care of giants and the bestiari.

Arrencada: When something is being pulled up and started, eg. the figures of giants and capgrossos.
Assaig: Attempts or rehearsals open to the public. Performed by groups of dancers or castellers during the days leading up to the main day of a festa major. (YouTube)
Astracanada: A comedy play.

Baixada: A descent – an event taking place on a slope. A baixada dels gegants will be another name for a giant procession.
Baldanada: Seems to be when people come together for a light meal.
Ball Pla: A collection of Pan-European folk dances. (YouTube)
Ball de bastons: The highly energetic Catalan stick dance. (YouTube)

Ball de cavallets: A dance performed on horses made of cardboard. Called ball de cotonines in Vilafranca. (YouTube)
Ball de capgrossos (nans): Men and women performing relatively complicated dance steps and formations with big fake heads on their shoulders. The expression capgrossos is in some places reserved for highly oversized masks, but usually the two words refer to the same phenomenon. (YouTube)

Ball de cercolets:
Dance with flower garlands, carried around in formations and in the end crowned by a little angel. (YouTube)
Ball de cintes:
A dance where girls with coloured ribbons in their hands dance around a boy who holds the other end of each ribbon. The dance comes from the Germanic maypole tradition, originally performed around a symbolic tree to make it bear fruit, as a symbol for fertility. (YouTube)


Ball de cotonines: see ball de cavallets
Ball de dames i vells: see ball de malcasats
Ball de diables: Groups of people dressed up as devils dancing with fire-spitting sticks. In the Penedès and Tarragona areas the devils also read ironic verses but all numbers end with loud explosions of firecrackers. (YouTube)

Ball de figuetaires: A dance based on children's games and how adults tease children. (YouTube)
Ball de gitanes: A maypole dance full of burlesque erotic allusions, performed in coulorful clothes since it is assumed to have a gypsy (roma) origin. (YouTube)
Ball de malcasats: The dance about mismatched marriages is actually a satiric comedy, where some actors play representatives of the authorities while others play odd citizens from all social classes. Performed during the Festa Major in Vilafranca (ball de makasats), but during the Carnival in Vilanova. Called ball de dames i vells in Tarragona. (YouTube)
Ball de panderos/panderetes: Tambourine dance. The ball de panderos was originally performed by men only, of which half of the group dressed up as women. (YouTube)
Ball de pastorets: The shepherds’ dance. Young people dance around, hitting long sticks against each other and against the ground in a wish for the soil to be fertile. (YouTube)

Ball de patatuf: A simple pair dance, usually performed by children.

Ball d’en Serrallonga:
A performance dance which tells the story about the bandit Serrallonga, during which shots are being fired from blunderbusses. (YouTube)
Ball de valencians:
A dance from which the castell tradition evolved. Each choreography does in fact end with the construction of a small human tower. (YouTube)
Ban de festa: Edict to celebrate.

Barraca (Barraques): Local scenes, or even stalls, used to create a more intimate setting for concerts and performances.

Beguda convidada: A drink from a certain place in the world, presented during Santa Tecla, Tarragona.
Bestiari popular: A town's collection of fictitious monster animals or figures - dragons, eagles, mulasses - often related to local fables. The dragons always spit fire.
Canalla: Colloquial for children.
Capgrossos: Literally ‘big heads’ - see ball de capgrossos.

Carretilla: The special kind of fire crackers used for dances with fire (see ball de diables).
Carretillada: When diables light up their fires and dance together in a square, usually in a large circle formation.

Carpa Juanita i porró:
A fire spitting carp fish which tries to drink from a fire spitting wine jar (porró) – the oddest creatures of the bestiari of Vilanova i la Geltrú. (YouTube)
Castanyola:
Castanets – used in many of the traditional dances.

Castell:
Typical Catalan human towers – up to ten levels of people standing on each others shoulders. (YouTube) The historic religious origin of the castells, can be traced back via dances like Ball de Valencians and Moixiganga.

Castell de foc:
Fireworks.

Cavalcada: Originally a procession of people mounted on horses, but in this context just another name for parade.

Ceptrotada: A dance for the members representing Lucifer, one from each group of diables.
Cercavila: A parade through the town by groups which perform dances or short performances.

Cobla: The collection of instruments – one trombone, two trumpets, two horns, one string bass, one flute-like flabiol, four oboe-like Catalan shawms (two smaller tibles and two larger tenores) and a small drum called tamborí - needed when playing Catalan folk music, sardanes etc. (YouTube)

Colla:
A team which performs a cultural activity. Coet: Rocket

Convit a la Festa:
The invitation – a formal opening speech to a festa major, usually made by a celebrity.

Correfoc:
A “fire run”. People dressed up as devils dance around with fire-spitting sticks and the audience is invited to join them under the flames. Be recommended to wear old clothes and make sure to protect your hair with a hat in case you want to try this. (YouTube)

Cucafera: Giant turtles which can form part of the bestiari popular.

Cupatge: Mix. Originally the process of mixing olive oils to achieve the right taste.

Diada: A day dedicated to a certain theme or person, eg. la Diada de Catalunya (the national holiday of Catalonia, September 11) or la Diada de la Mercè (the day of the patron saint of Barcelona, September 24). A diada castellera I translate as a 'human tower day'.

Diables: Devils – those who perform ball de diables.

Drac:
Dragon. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia. Catalans love dragons and these fire-spitting monsters are a must in any festa major parade. (YouTube)

Entremés:
A short street performance.

Esbart Santa Tecla: Tarragona’s folkdance association.

Escenari: Scene

Espardenya:
The traditional footwear used in many folk dances.

Exhibició:
A proper performance on a stage, as opposed to an entremés, which forms part of a parade.

Exposició:
Exhibiton. During a festa major there are usually art exhibitions of photos or paintings related to the event.

Faixa:
The sash wrapped around the waist, used for protection by castellers and for decoration in some folk dances.

Falcons:
Acrobatic, dynamic human towers, typical for the towns of the Penedès area. Most constructions are just as spectacular as the more common Catalan castells, but falcons has its origin in sports (the Czech Sokol (Falcon) movement, and not in religious celebrations.  (YouTube)

Festa major:
Tends to be translated as city festival or annual festival. Originally the celebrations in honour the patron saint of a town or neighbourhood. Like many other towns, Vilanova i la Geltrú celebrates festa major twice a year. The main one takes place in the summer, but there is also a winter version.

Galejada: A gala parade.

Galop: A galop, a dance similar to the polka.

Gegant: Giants. Huge figures made of wood, carried around in dances. (YouTube)

Geganter: Those who maintain and make the giant figures come alive.

Goig: A poetic elegy to be sung or read in the honour of a saint.

Gralla: A Catalan wind instrument with a unique sound. For example used when castells are being built.

Graller: The person who plays the gralla.

Havanera:
Dances and songs of Creole origin and a popular festa major element in Catalonia’s coastal towns. Glasses of burnt rum are usually served during the show. (YouTube)
Imaginari: Cercavila de l’Imaginari – the children's festa major parade in Vilanova i la Geltrú’s, based themes from local legends and history. (YouTube)


Lleó: Lion. Noteworthy character in the bestiari popular of Tarragona.
Maça: The stick on which the diables carry their spinning fire crackers.
Malabar (Joc Malabar): Juggling.
Mascle Cabró: Mascle as well as cabró means billy goat or he-goat.

Matinada:
A wake-up song played on the instrument gralla in the morning hours of the main day of the festa major.
Missa: Mass

Moixiganga:
Originally a play about the passion of Christ but performed as a folk dance during a cercavila or processó. (YouTube)

Morterets:
Rockets shot off from mortar-like pipes in the opening ceremonies of some festes majors. Extremely noisy and therefore not recommended for small children.

Mulassa:
Giant mules carried around by two people in a crazy dance. (YouTube)

Musclada: An event centred around the eating of mussels.
Nans: Midgets - see ball de capgrossos.
Novena: An expression of devotion carried out during nine days.
Ofici solemne: Divine service at church - a reminder about the religious origin of the festa major tradition.

Pabordes:
Originally the name of the board members of a religious confrèrie, but used for the organizing committee of the Festa Major de Vilanova i la Geltrú.
Parlament: Speech. In exhibitions of ball de diables or ball de cercolets, short verses (versots) are being read.
Passejada: A walk, but in this context rather a parade or a procession.
Pilar Caminant: Walking human towers, of which the most fascinating ones are performed on the stairs of Pla de la Seu, Tarragona.

Pregó: Public announcement

Processó: Originally a religious procession but nowadays used also for secular festa major parades.

Puntaire: Person interested in cushion embroidery; their get-together during the festa major of Barcelona is a tradition.

Recorregut:
The itinerary or route through the town of the different parades (cercavila, processó or correfoc).

Repicada de campanes: Bell ringing.

Retaule: Altarpiece carried around in a procession.
Revetlla: Street party
Revista: Not only a magazine but also a revue, a variety show.
Rom cremat: Burnt rum. The hot drink you are treated to after a havenera concert.

Sardana: The most emblematic - although not the most exciting - of the traditional Catalan dances. Danced hand in hand in one or more circles to music played by a cobla. (YouTube)

Sarsuela:
Zarzuela - A Spanish kind of operetta with spoken as well as sung scenes.

Seguici: An entourage of followers; in the festa major context the colles which follow the Patron Saint in a procession.
Set Pecats Capitals: Seven Deadly Sins – allegorically represented in the procession of Santa Tecla, Tarragona.
Sostre de foc: ‘Ceiling of fire’. The moment when a correfoc reaches its final: all groups of devils gather in a square, light up their last crackers and dance in the fire, all at the same time. (YouTube)
Tabalada: A timbales drumming session.

Tanda de lluïment: Approximately 'your turn to excel' - when all participating cultural entities, one after the other, enter a square to show their best.

Titella: A puppet.

Toc: A warning. Also: Toc de campana - chime or bell ringing, and Toc d'inici - translated as the first note in the English version of Barcelona's festa major program.

Trabucaire: Blunderbuss (trabuc) shooters

Trobada: A meeting or get-together.

Ventall (vano):
Fans. Festa major street decorations in Vilanova i la Geltrú.

Vermut: A concert or performance where the audience is treated to a glass of vermouth.

Versot: Satiric verses used in the performances of some dances. (YouTube)
Víbria: Tarragona’s most impressive dragon.
Vigília: Historically and religiously a vigil, but non-religious festa major participants will limit the interpretation to eve; the night before the main event.
Vot: A vow to God or to a saint.

Vot del poble:
The vow of the inhabitants of a town to be faithful to their patron saint - a religious tradition which has developed into the festes majors of our days.
Xambanga: As in xambanga de gegants: A Barcelona parade where the gegants as well as the geganters put on fancy dresses according to various themes.

Xerrada: A talk on a certain topic.
Xistorrada: An event centred around the eating of xistorra, a cured pork sausage.


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The August 24, 2008, background of this blog post:
Giants and dragons, correfocs and human towers. For those interested in exploring Catalan popular culture, a festa major is like a gold mine. However, tourists risk missing the best parts since most programs are issued late. August 29-31, the Festa Major de Vilafranca del Penedès - possibly the most emblematic of them all - will take place, but with less than a week left, the program detailing the time and place of different events still has not been made public.

Another issue is the language: most programs are only available in Catalan. This year, that was the case also for the Festa Major de Sant Bartolomeu in the internationally well-known tourist destination Sitges.

Since some of the expressions used are not easily found in dictionaries, I offer this wordlist. I take my starting point in Vilanova i la Geltrú, but will add vocabulary and descriptions from other places when I come across them. Festes.org presents a calendar of local celebrations - even the smallest festa major is worth a visit. What you will find are vivid examples of folk culture and one of the reasons why I am so happy to have moved to Catalonia.

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A request: Please, write me a comment in case you want to propose improvements to my translations or have questions about vocabulary which I have not yet included.

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Sources: Most specific facts for this entry come from the print version of the 2007 Festa Major program of Vilanova i la Geltrú, the Diccionari Català-Valencià-Balear or Wikipedia.
Related links:
Festes.org, the Generalitat’s list of traditional celebrations of national interest and the official Festa Major web-pages of Vilanova i la Geltrú, Sitges, Tarragona and Vilafranca del Penedès.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Catalonia, Festa, Festa Major, Sitges, Tarragona, Vilafranca, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SPA: Responden en otro idioma a los extranjeros

Para la mayoría de suecos, dejar el país no es una manera de facilitarse la vida. Nosotros, los que hemos decidio vivir en España, no podemos permitirnos de perder la motivación y dejar de profunidzar el conocimiento del idioma aunque nuestro origen suele ser descubierto cuando empezamos de hablar. Si nuestra casa nueva se encuentra a Cataluña - donde se hablan dos idiomas - es aún más difícil. Sobre todo porque la gente de aquí evita de respondernos en una de ellos.

Hace dos días volvimos de nuestras vacaciones en Suécia. Para nuestros pequeños niños el viaje servió para recordarles que el sueco es una auténtica lengua y no una cosa inventada por nuestra família. Pasaron las dos semanas en un ambiente más o menos puramente sueco. Para mi mujer y mi fue distinto. Pasamos mucho tiempo mirando películas y, como es costumbre en Suécia, fueron versiones originales en inglés con subtítulos en sueco. Además, todo el tiempo mantuve el contacto con el castellano grácias al fantástico libro “El juego del angel” de Carloz Ruiz Zafón.

El único idioma que me faltaba era el catalan y volví con ganas de practicarlo de nuevo. El problema para un extranjero es que hay pocos lugares para donde hacerlo, y eso aunque vivo en una ciudad catalana. Un ejemplo es lo que me pasó ayer, en el autobús que viene a Vilanova por parte del banco de sangre. Como siempre rellené la versión catalana del formulario para registrarme y como siempre marqué con un equis que prefiero el catalan para la comunicación. Pero, después de saludarme con un ‘bon dia’, el admistrador me preguntó algo que no comprendí, y cuando tuvo que repitirlo ya había cambiado al español. Desde entonces hasta que saliera del autobús, todo el personal se dirigía a mí en este idioma.

Mientras que se me extraía la sangre, tenía tiempo para observar el personal del equipo. Según comprendí, eran tres catalanoparlantes y una cuarta persona que pareció tener el español como lengua maternal. Entre sí, en cuatro, hablaron español, pero con los donantes en catalan. Es decir, con todos menos con migo, yo era una excepción.

Se dice que hay catalanes que responden en catalan cuando turistas de otras partes de España les preguntan algo. ¿Dónde están? O deben ser son muy pocos o deben estar todos ya ocupados por hablar su lenuga própia con gente de Madrid u otros lugares. Está claro que almenos para mi no tienen tiempo.

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Technorati tags: Catalan, Vilanova, Wirdheim,

Friday, 15 August 2008

ENG: A 'One Stop Shop' for Students of Catalan

Almost since I started this blog have I had the idea to compile a list of resources related to the Catalan and Spanish languages, respectively. However, at least for Catalan such a summary already exists and thanks to one of my readers I have found my way it: La calaixera de llengua i país.

La Calaixera means ‘the set of drawers’ and that is how this web page, created by the ajuntament de Girona, has been structured. On the main page you find boxes with labels like institutions and language, literature and language, learning the language and Catalan in the world and when you click on them you reach lists of links for each subject.

I will be a frequent user of La Calaixera for my own studies but in spite of a clean interface, I have some remarks. The first is that everything is set up in Catalan only. A mini-version in English with a focus on information which can be of use to beginners would certainly make it more user-friendly.

A more serious issue is that that many of the link lists are so extensive that you do not know where to start. Although I agree with the intention to present as many sources as possible, most users would be helped if there were some kind of rating or recommendation system. Why not ask those who click on a certain link to make an evaluation of how well it meets their expectations?

While looking forward to further development, step by step will I explore the current version of la Calaixera. Above all the link dictionaries and translators offers a lot of interesting tools.

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Technorati tags: Catalan, Catalonia

Monday, 11 August 2008

ENG: Addressing Both Men and Women

Ciutadans i ciutadanes! When I was first interested in Catalan I thought a lot about why Catalans tend to address unknown groups of people in both masculine and feminine form. While you might come across this also in Spanish, in Catalan it is more or less standard. Then I got used to it and guess that I explained it to myself by Catalans partly being, and even more so thinking of themselves as, more progressive than the stereotype Spaniard.

Therefore, an article by Pere Marsé i Ferrer in a recent issue of our local Diari de Vilanova served as an eye opener. The author reminds us that Catalan like other Romance languages solved this issue long ago, by letting the masculine form serve for both sexes when a group of people is being addressed.

With an example from our own town – and let us remember that the official name is Vilanova i la Geltrú (Vilanova AND la Geltrú) – he underlines that although their intentions are often good, speakers who use both forms are not protected from discriminating anyone. If, for example, a cultural program only addresses the vilanovins and vilanovines, is that not a lack of respect for the geltrunencs and geltrunenques (the male and female residents of la Geltrú)? It is not easy to be politically correct.

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Technorati tags: Catalan, Catalonia, Spanish, Vilanova

Friday, 8 August 2008

ENG: Catalan in the News – 3

FC Barcelona is currently on a pre-season tour in the United States and, when going there, they decided not to travel by an LTU-plane, owned by Air Berlin. The club prefers not to comment on the matter, but the action is being interpreted as a protest against the German owned airline. Interestingly enough, FC Barcelona will only be able to recuperate 50% of what they had paid for the flight. This might be seen as a waste of money untypical for Catalans, but judging from blogger reactions it has been a great investment in public relations.
(Avui: 1; Examples of satisfied bloggers: 1, 2)

The Balearic islands have decided to come back as a partner of the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), which promotes the Catalan language and culture on the international level. In 2004, the PP government of the islands decided to leave the institute, but their current representative, Albert Moragues, has declared that that was only for political reasons. The financing of IRL is calculated based on the population of the geographical areas of which it is made up, currently Catalonia, the Balearic islands and Andorra. Other parts of the ‘Catalan Countries’ (Països Catalans) – the Franja del Ponent in Aragon, the autonomous community of Valencia, 'Northern Catalonia' (Pyrenées Orientales) in France and the city of Alghero on Sardinia (Italy) – are not yet partners of the institute. ( LaVanguardia: 1)

The Catalan supermarket group BonPreu (store brands: BonPreu, Orangutan and Esclat) has joined the campaign “Speak to me in Catalan, please” (Si us plau, parla’m en català) and sent out 2.500 pins for their employees to wear on a voluntary basis. It is a non-intrusive way for foreigners among the staff who want to learn the Catalan to remind customers not to switch to Spanish when they address them, and also an invitation to non-native Catalan speakers among the customers to try to use this language, although most of us are more fluent in Spanish. The group BonPreu is a bit of a pioneer in this area since text on their private label products are in Catalan. Maybe it is not surprising that our local BonPreu was the first store where felt comfortable to move over from Spanish to Catalan but, clar, that was long before this pin campaign. (Avui: 1)

On time for the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, ‘TermCat’ – the Catalan centre of terminology – has made available of summary of terms to be used when reporting on different sport events. Here, among other things, we can learn that xaleco salvavides or jaqueta salvavides (two alternatives for life vest) are in fact castellanismes, while the correct expression in Catalan is armilla salvavides. Not only words influenced by Spanish are to be avoided – sport journalists should stop talking about mountain bikes, and instead write bicicleta tot terreny or, alternatively, BTT. Now that is joc net (fair play), is it not?

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Related earlier blog entries: Catalan in the News Part 1, Part 2

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Technorati tags: Catalan, Catalonia, Wirdheim

Thursday, 7 August 2008

CAT: Finalment una cercavila per als petits

Van dir-me que després de que hagin passat les colles de diables i els dracs, la cercavila de Vigília és tranquil∙la i per tant una mica adaptada als nens. Ara entenc que això és la perspectiva d’adults. La ciutat és petita i la veritat és que hi ha soroll pertot arreu.

Quan va celebrar-se fa dos dies, els meus nens tots dos van tenir por. El petit va tenir-ne tant que vam haver de parar uns dos encreuaments abans d’arrrivar als altres espectadors. Per casualitat va venir la mestra de la seva llar d’infants, una persona que normalment estima molt. No va servir per a res - ni tan sols va mirar-la sinó va continuar plorant i amagant-se a la meva samarreta. Més tard quan vam poder apropar-nos a la Plaça de les Cols és cert que no hi van haver explosions, però ja va ser massa tard per millorar el seu humor. No vaig trobar cap altra solució que treure el fill gran del públic i tornar a casa.

Ahir, durant l’exhibició de balls populars va ser al revés – el petit ho mirava amb paciència però el gran s’avorria. Al final vaig rendir-me i vaig portar-los a un dels parcs de sempre. Allà, finalment, van gaudir tots dos, però jo ja no tant.

A la cercavila del vot del poble, celebrada la mateixa nit, vaig anar sol, per poder moure’m i filmar amb tranquilitat. Fins ara no s’ha interessat al tema la meva dona, però l’any que vé haurà de sortir amb mi. És totalment únic i espectacular.

Per la tarda avui hem tingut la última oportunitat d’enguany de veure una cosa tots junts. Va ser la cercavila de l’imaginari, basada en les llegendes de Vilanova i la Geltrú. No n’hi han explosions i el foc dels monstres és débil o fins i tot sustituit per aigua. I va funcionar - als nostres nens va fer-los molta il∙lusió a ambdós. Quan ja havien passat totes les colles han volgut que n’hi hagués més. “Però jo vull diables que ballen”, va demanar el gran.

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Amb comentaris en suec vaig pujar clips del ball de cintes, del ball dels capgrossos, d'una colla de ball de bastons, de la mulassa gran de Vilanova i la Geltrú, de la porta d'honor feta pels Bordegassos per als polítics locals al final de la cercavila del vot del poble i de la cercavila de l'imaginari.

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Technorati tags: Festa, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Undantaget där det inte smäller



Det smäller och exploderar väldigt mycket under en katalansk Festa Major och åtminstone i Vilanova i la Geltrú finns det få aktiviteter som vänder sig till mindre barn. Undantaget är uppvisningsparaden Cercavila de l’Imaginari som anordnas under stadsfestens sista dag. I korta iscensättningar och danser berättas stadens historia och dess legender: om hur tågtunnlar grävdes så att vår stad kunde knytas ihop med Barcelona, om fiskarnas liv och om monster som påstås leva i bergen häromkring.

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

SWE: Storhuvuden och dvärgar dansar



Det är lätt att förstå katalanernas fascination för jättar. Politiskt korrekta svenskar får det lite svårare med ”storhuvudena” (gapgrossos), eller dvärgarna (nans) som de också kallas. Men de vill också dansa och har alltid gjort så på Festa Major runt om i Katalonien. Vilanovas nuvarande storhuvuden har funnits sedan 1949 eftersom de gamla, liksom mycket annat kulturellt material, försvann under det spanska inbördeskriget.

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Katalansk käppdans



Den katalanska käppdanstraditionen (ball de bastons) är så stark att Vilanova i la Geltrú har fyra grupper (colles) som bevarar den. Det kan gå så våldsamt till att det påminner mer om styrkemätning än om dans. Hur många fingrar tror ni går åt under en normal säsong?

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Katalansk majstångsdans



Som utlandssvensk hänger man fast vid de få traditioner som vi fortfarande bevarar och våra midsommarstänger hör verkligen dit. Men så blev jag fundersam när jag läste att banddansen (ball de cintes) och zigenardansen (ball de gitans), som katalanerna numera ser som sina, ursprungligen utspelade sig runt majstänger. Och så tvingades jag lära mig att vår midsommarstångstradition ursprungligen kommer ifrån Tyskland, jag som har trott att den levt kvar sedan hedendomen. Vår svenska stång är hur som helst ensam om att ha testiklar.

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

ENG: Catalan House Occupants

The picture forms part of Ordlös Onsdag (Wordless Wednesday in Swedish).

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

ENG: You Have Not Been Forgotten

Although I believe that most regular readers of this blog understand either Catalan or Swedish, there might be a few who only feel comfortable reading in English. Rest assured that I have not forgotten about you. As you will have noticed, I now add a three-letter language code in the headlines of my entries, so if you subscribe to the RSS-feed you can limit yourself to come here when there is new content in your preferred language.

Once Vilanova’s Festa Major 2008 is over, I plan to sum it up in two entries in English. One will focus on the vocabulary - as a guide for tourists to Vilanova i la Geltrú and other Catalan towns to understand a typical Festa Major program. The second one will be a personal reflection on what not to miss if you happen to be here during the festes in the future .

At the same time I want to encourage all readers not to shy away from my entries in Catalan since there will be more and more of them. As a part of my preparations for the Generalitat’s C-level tests next year, I need to practise writing, and in blogging I have found a rewarding way to do so.

Admittedly, my texts are full of the kind of errors any non-native speaker will make (which, for obvious reasons, also is the case with my entries in English). However, now in the possession of an official certificate confirming my level of Catalan to that of an intermediate learner, I feel confident that I can contribute to the world’s collective knowledge of the language.

To encourage those of you who still avoid texts in Catalan to make a first contact with it, is a nice project for me and will certainly benefit your integration in Catalonia. Why not give it a try? Anyone with a decent level of either Spanish or French will be able to understand quite a lot. And in the process you will learn to know me and my family.

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Technorati tags: Catalan, Spanish, Wirdheim

Monday, 4 August 2008

CAT: Els vilanovins suecs i la Festa Major

Aquest cap de setmana va estar fortament dominat per la festa major. Vam disfrutar de moltes coses però, clar, sempre com espectadors i no cap com participants. L’art dels castellers n’és un bon exemple: tot i que m’agrada moltíssim i que no conec fenomens similars d’altres llocs on vam viure, mai podria ser soci d’una colla. No només per l’òbvia raó que la meva dona temeria que hi portaria els nens (ell de cinc anys pesa poc i s’enfila amb agilitat...), sinó sobre tot perquè sóc massa individualista per l’activitat. Imagineu-vos les hores que aquesta gent passa esperant el seu torn a festes pertot arreu. Jo no tindria la paciencia, i per això no em sorpren que les colles tenen problemes a trobar gent. Al contrari, el que de veritat em fascina és que la cultura és tan viva com és.

Encara més m’estimo els falcons, i no perquè tenen el seu nom del moviment Sokol de la República Txeca – el país de la meva mare – sinó per la lleugeresa i acrobàcia. Mentres que els castells es dirigeixen cap al cel, les formacions dels falcons em donen l'impresió de ser a l’aire.

Durant les últimes setmanes vam intentar de preparar el fill petit que avui seria el dia per deixar els xumets a la mulassa. Una amiga seva va fer-ho sense problemes, però ell no, i no sé quina part va ser la pitjor – les mulasses que li van donar por o l’idea en si. Per sort va tranquilitzar-se a temps per veure el ball dels gegants i això sí li va agradar molt.

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Amb comentaris en suec vaig pujar clips a YouTube de castellers (l’intent dels Bordegassos a un quatre de vuit més la torre de vuit de la Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls), dels Falcons de Vilanova, de les mulasses i de les tres parelles de gegants de la nostra ciutat.

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Technorati tags: Festa, Vilanova

SWE: Jättar på katalansk Festa Major



Alla katalanska städer med självaktning har minst ett par av jättar – inte sällan mycket gamla – som vårdas ömt och bara tas fram när det är fest (festa). I vår stad har vi två par som hör till Vilanova och ett par som hör till la Geltrú.

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Katalanska jätteåsnor



En jätteåsna (mulassa) – buren av två människor - som dansar och slår bakut är ett av de många odjur som kan dyka upp på en katalansk festa. Och om tjurar är symbolen för Spanien så är åsnan dito för Katalonien.
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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Akrobatiska mänskliga torn från Penedès



I Penedèsregionen, där förutom Vilanova i la Geltrú också vittvinsstaden Vilafranca del Penedès och cava-staden Sant Sadurní d’Anoia ligger, byggs det inte bara ’vanliga’ mänskliga torn (castells), utan vi har också en akrobatisk variant kallad falcons (falkarna).

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Kataloniens mänskliga torn



Mänskliga torn (castells) byggs runt om i hela Katalonien. Slutstegen av klättringen sker till musik framförd på trummor och blåsinstrumentet gralla. Vilanovas tornbyggarförening (colla de castellers) heter ’els Bordegassos’ och kämpar hårt för att återfå sin tidigare form.

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Om castellers i svenska media: Sydsvenskan 1

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Technorati tags: Festa, Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

Saturday, 2 August 2008

CAT: Gaudint del correfoc

Ahir, la meva dona i jo vam voler veure el correfoc de la Festa Major com qualsevol altre família vilanovina. Quina idea més vana. Ja quan vam presentar el tema als nostres fills, el petit (de dos anys i mig) va començar a repetir que en tenia por. Vam haver de prometre-li que podria tornar a casa amb la seva mare, per si de cas no li agradaria. Aleshores el fill gran (de cinc anys) va mostrar-se valent i va dir que es quedaria amb mi.

No vam durar més que cinc minuts a la Plaça de les Neus abans que ell també canviés d’opinió. “Ja en tinc prou! Que no em sents?”, va cridar de la seva posició sobre les meves espatlles, després de les primeres explosions.

La resta de la nit vaig poder gaudir del ball de diables i de dracs però ja sense la companyia de la família. Abans de tornar a casa vaig quedar-me una estona mirant la revista de la Festa Major a la Plaça del Mercat. Dels acudits de l'humorista Ramon vaig riure d'uns pocs per reconeixer-los d’altres llengües i d'uns pocs més per captar el que ens explicava. Tanmateix, la gran part del espectacle em va resultar massa difícil per seguir-la. Tant de bo entengués més si no tingués les orelles danyades pel correfoc.

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Del correfoc vaig pujar dos clips a YouTube, un del Drac de Vilanova i l'altre d’una colla de diables. He decidit publicar-los com entrades separades, per que els suecs es sentin còmodes a fer-hi comentaris.

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Technorati tags: Catalunya, Festa, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Djävulsdans och eldlöpning i Katalonien



Som en del av vår Festa Major dansade folk utklädda till djävlar igår runt på Vilanovas gator. I händerna hade de käppar som det sprutade eld ifrån, vad vi såg var en 'eldlöpning' (correfoc). Under en sådan får vem som helst springa in under elden, men man bör ha oömma kläder och skydda sitt hår om man vill göra det. Elden sköts som tur är alltid av dem som sysslar med det här på allvar och sådana finns det gått om. De är organiserade i grupper som kallas colles och tränar regelbundet. Ball de diables kallas det när dessa djävlar gör ett formellt uppträdande - under dessa får publiken nöja sig med att klappa händerna.

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Technorati tags: Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

SWE: Kataloniens drakar



Riddaren Sankt Göran (Sant Jordi) är Kataloniens skyddshelgon och varje katalansk stad med självaktning har minst en drake som kommer fram när det är fest. I gårdagens correfoc (eldlöpning) fick Vilanovas drake ta tätposition bland de eldsprutande monsterna, tätt följd av La Geltrús drakar.

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Technorati tags: Katalonien, Vilanova, Wirdheim

Friday, 1 August 2008

CAT: Tot un mes sense el català

The comments to the YouTube clip are in Swedish.


Els nostres fills han passat l’últim dia del curs al casal d’estiu i a la llar d’infants respectivament. Significa que des de demà passaran tot un mes a un ambient principalment suecoparlant – és a dir, amb mi – tot i que vivim a Catalunya.

Necessito buscar solucions per que no perdin el contacte amb el català. A casa no el parlem, ja que estem convençuts que com pares hem de parlar només la nostra pròpia llengua maternal. Per això dependré de les activitats que s’organitzaran a la ciutat.

El principi serà fàcil perquè ara se celebra la Festa Major i passen moltes coses pertot arreu. Avui, per casualitat, hem trobat un espectacle per a nens a la Plaça de la Mediterrànea. Clar, els actors parlaven castellà però Catalunya del nostre temps és així i al nostre fill gran no li molestava gens. Amb el petit he tingut més problemes – tots relacionats amb el seu humor, no cap amb la llengua. Ha preferit quedar-se tan lluny de l’espectacle que tampoc no ha pogut sentir com parlaven.

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Technorati tags: Català, Festa, Vilanova, Wirdheim,