Thursday, 30 July 2009

Catalan Flags and Cuban Songs - Festa Major Day 1

Anyone prepared to read a blog in (my admittedly broken) Catalan, can find my impressions of the Festa Major 2009 of Vilanova i la Geltrú at "El bloc de la Festa". When I started working on it, I felt uncertain about how vilanovis de tota la vida would take it that I - a foreigner - came in and commented on their traditions, but it has turned out to be very rewarding. There are amazingly many people who want to help me and, in return, I owe them my full committment. In English, I will limit myself to pass on a bit of the flavour of our festa.

On Wednesday, July 29, the pabordes (a local name for the committee which organises the festa major) hoisted up a huge senyera on the bell tower of the church Sant Antoni Abat. With traditional music, it was a calm and dignified act, but at the same time exciting to watch, since mountaineers from the excursion group La Talaia helped to fix the flag in the sand stone.

With this, the festa major had officially started.

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In the late evening of the same day we were all invited to listen to havaneres. Since I had been to a marvellous concert of this kind in Sitges last summer, since I can not help comparing our towns and, above all, since I want my adopted home town to do things well, I admit being nervous while I walked down to the plaça del Port. I needed not be. We in the audience looked in the direction of the old fishermens' houses, so Vilanova managed to show one of it best faces. More importantly, the group "Els Cremats" from Calella de Palafrugell - the Catalan havanera capital - were truly good singers.

If you, as a tourist in Catalonia, have a chance to enjoy a havanera concert, I really recommend you to do so, in spite of the high average age of the audience. After all, compared to correfocs full of noise and explosions, they are a soft first step into Catalan culture. And the fact that there will be songs in the local language as well as in Spanish, reveals how perfectly bilingual Catalans are.

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Technorati tags: Bilingualism, Catalonia, Festa Major, Penedès, Sitges, Vilanova,

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