Giants (gegants) and nans (midgets, also called capgrossos, ‘big heads’) are vital ingredients of any Catalan festa, and during la Mercè, I went to Barcelona to see them during the so called Cavalcada. That turned to be a good and a bad decision.
Good since this is an opportunity to see not only the giants of the city centre – King James I (Jaume I) and his wife – but also those of the individual districts; Poble Nou, Sarrià, Gràcia, Raval, Sants etc. I have pictures of more than thirty figures, although I left out most of the nans.
Bad because of the big number of participants; the route from Plaça de la Universtitat to Plaça de la Catedral is long and the groups repeatedly get stuck along the way. Therefore, the Cavalcada was not as intense and exciting as I had hoped for. “All the Colours of Barcelona” (Tots els colors de Barcelona) was the theme of the year but although I agree with the intentions – to stress that this is nowadays a multicultural environment – I can not say that traditional folkart is a good means to spread that message.
The Cavalcada is above all a children’s event, so next year I will make sure to bring ours. And I will limit our visit to the final part, when all creatures pass by the stage and line up in front of the cathedral, accompanied by speaker comments and music.
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