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

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