These are the main days of the Festes de Santa Tecla of Tarragona - an event declared a 'Traditional Festival of National Interest' by the Generalitat and which offers a very extensive program. There must have been a plan to translate it into other languages, but as it is now, the English and Spanish links refer you back to the Catalan version. Having said that, I consider the program visitor friendly since next to each item, a link saying ‘veure localització’ leads you to a map.
Below are the highlights for everyone interested in Catalan popular culture, but do not hesitate to refer to the full program for details. With some knowledge of any romance language and my Festa Major Glossary you will be able to understand most of it.
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Friday, September 19 – la Santa Tecla Petita
• A day of dances and human towers (castells) performed by children. The cercavila (a parade with performances) starts at 19.00 from the Plaça de la Font.
Saturday, September 20
• The Concert of the Beguda Convidada (guest drink) takes place at at Plaça de les Cols at 12.30. This year's drink is limoncello from Pompeii (Tarragona’s Italian twin town).
• The performance of 'living folklore' takes place at the Rambla Nova at 19.00.
• At 22.30, the altarpiece of Santa Tecla is delivered to the cathedral.
Sunday, September 21
• At 18.00, the festa major announcement (pregó) is read at the town hall.
• From 19.30 onwards, a large number of giants and nans dance through the streets, starting from the Plaça de la Font.
• At midnight, and also at 1.30 a.m., people from the audience are allowed to lift and try to dance around inside the giant figures. This item is called the baixada del seguici i de les bandes.
Monday, September 22
• The parade (cercavila) of Santa Tecla, in which all folk culture groups (colles) take part, starts at 19.00 from Plaça de la Font.
• Throughout the evening there are performances of Dames i Vells; satiric comedy shows.
• At midnight, the party (revetlla) on the Eve of Santa Tecla begins and continues throughout the night.
Tuesday, September 23 – la Diada de Santa Tecla
• At 10.00, the divine service of the festa major takes place at the cathedral.
• The divine service is followed by a parade and at 11.15, at the Plaça de la Font, one after the other of the participating groups take turns to show their best performance (tanda de lluïment).
• Human towers (castells) will be assembled at Plaça de la Font from 13.00 onwards.
• At 19.00, the procession el Braç de Santa Tecla, starts from the Pla de la Seu. Again, all folk culture groups (colles) take part.
• The festa major fireworks will be shot off at 22.30.
Wednesday, September 24 – la Diada de la Mercè
• A human towers (castellers) performance takes place at Plaça de les Cols at 13.00. After that, all groups assemble pilars (human towers of one person per level) and try to walk up and down the stairs at the Pla de la Seu.
• The program is rounded off with a "firerun" (correfoc), starting at 22.30
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Personally, I hope to be able to make it to Tarragona during the weekend, but I am confident that my wife will be more interested in la Mercè – the Festa Major of Barcelona – which also has started by now. Well, wherever we take our children in the end, we can be sure that they will receive a good dose of Catalan culture.
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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Festa, Tarragona, Wirdheim