Sunday, 22 February 2009
ENG: The Candy War of Vilanova i la Geltrú
Before each candy war (guerra de caramels), the first to enter the Plaça de la Vila are the flag bearers of each comparsa. Only after having given them a chance to show their skills with the flags, do the organizers put on la Turuta – an old military march which has become the signature tune of the Carnaval de Vilanova – and the rest of the comparsers come dancing in, arm in arm.
All of a sudden the speaker cries “La plaça és vostra” (“The square is yours”) and that marks the start of the candy war. Since there are many comparses they have to take turns fighting each other - this year there 85 comparses split into six sessions; two for children and four for adults. Most comparsers are quite friendly and throw the candy up in the air rather than aiming at other people, but there is always the odd fight which becomes a bit too agressive.
When the last candy war finishes around 3 p.m., the streets of Vilanova rapidly become totally empty. The comparses head off for restaurants (reservations in advance is a must on this day) and leave behind a town drenched in a sweet smell of 80 tons of candy. No wonder your shoes stick to the pavement during many days after this event.
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Technorati tags: Carnival, Catalonia, Festa, Garraf, Penedès, Vilanova
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Media links: LaVanguardia on the diumenge de les comparses 2009.