In Vilanova i la Geltrú, today is the first day of the official Festa Major 2009 program. Here is a totally subjective summary of the events which I want to highlight. My focus is on popular culture, but I will be happy to try to answer all kinds of questions. Find the full program in Catalan here.
Wednesday, July 29
▫ 20:00 - a huge Catalan flag (la senyera) will be hung from the Sant Antoni Abat church bell tower - much more exciting than it sounds.
▫ 22:00 - a concert of havaneres, finished with a glass of burnt rum at the Plaça del Port.
Thursday, July 30
▫ 17:00 to 21:00 - a kite flying exhibition on the beach Ribes Roges.
▫ 22:15, the local castellers els Bordegassos will practise (assaig) in their premises in the plaça de les Casernes.
Friday, July 31
▫ 11:00 to 13:00 - a chance to climb up the church bell tower of Sant Antoni Abat and see the town from above.
▫ 19:00 - in the plaça Mediterrània, there will be a concert for children by the musicians from Catalan TV3's Club Súper 3.
▫ 20:00 to 22:00 - fly in a hot air balloon on the beach Ribes Roges.
▫ 22:00 and onwards - the correfoc - devils and firesipitting dragons dancing through the streets, from the plaça de les Neus to the plaça de la Vila. In case you plan to participate, make sure to put on old clothes and cover your hair.
Saturday, August 1
▫ 17:00-18:00 – centennial giants from all around Catalonia exhibited in the plaça de la Vila.
▫ 18:00 – all old giants will be paraded through the town (cercavila)
▫ 19:30 – the Bordegassos of Vilanova, the Castellers de Vilafranca and the Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls will assemble human towers (castells) in the plaça de la Vila.
Sunday, August 2
▫ 12:00 – Vilanova’s smallest mulassa – la Cabreta – celebrates her 25th birthday with a parade through the town.
▫ 19:00 – Local choirs hold a concert in the church of Sant Joan.
▫ 19:00 – The Falcons de Vilanova and the Falcons del Riberal parade through the town and then perform acrobatic human towers in the plaça de la Vila.
Monday, August 3
▫ 19:00 – Small children are invited to stop using pacifiers by giving them to the mulassa - the giant donkey - in the plaça dels Cotxes.
▫ 20:00 – Ball de Bastons (stick dance) by the Gloucester Shire Morris Men and the Colles Grans del Ball de Bastons from Vilanova and Ribes.
▫ 20:30 – The three giant couples from Vilanova and la Geltrú parade through the town.
▫ 22:30 – Jazz concert with Sitjazz and la Fera Ferotge in the plaça de les Cols.
Tuesday, August 4
▫ 11:30 – writer Ramon Solsona reads the Festa Major invitation in the assembly hall of the town hall, plaça de la Vila.
▫ 12:00 – the peak of the Festa Major 2009 starts with 12 cannon ball shots in the plaça de la Vila, accompanied by bell ringing from all churches.
▫ 17:00 – a gralla (a Catalan wind industrument) and bag pipe concert by the Grallers de Santa Madrona and Castelldefels, plus Jordi Inglada and Cristina Boixadera, in the street C/ Major.
▫ 18:30 – a huge popular culture parade through the town centre (Cercavila de la Vigília).
▫ 20:00 – popular culture performances in the plaça de la Vila.
▫ 23:00 – the Festa Major fireworks (N.B.: Catalans love fireworks to an extent which is hard to grasp for a Swede.)
Wednesday, August 5
▫ 9:00 – a popular culture parade (cercavila d’anada a ofici) follows the Festa Major committee (pabordes) on their way to church.
▫ 10:00 – the Festa Major mass at the church Sant Antoni Abat.
▫ 12:30 – popular culture performances in the plaça de la Vila.
▫ 18 :00 – a show of all Catalan folk dances practised in Vilanova, in the plaça de la Vila.
▫ 21:00 – the main popular culture parade through the town (cercavila del Vot del Poble) finished with the inhabitants’ vow to be faithful to our Patron Saint la Mare de Deu de les Neus (Virgin Mary).
Thursday, August 6
▫ 19:00 – Vilanova i la Geltrú’s childrens parade, based on local legends - la cercavila de l'Imaginari - rounds off the popular culture part of the Festa Major 2009.
During the festivities, the Festa Major committee (pabordes) asks everyone to dress up in white.
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Festa Major Related Exhibitions:
'Bestiari Festiu d'Europa 1870-1970' (the Festivity Monster Animals of Europe); historic photos of dragons and other monster animals from European folklore, at La Sala. Until August 9.
'Photos of the Giants of Vilanova' at the Sala Toc (C/ Caputxins). From July 25 to August 9.
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What I present here are events where I will go, hope to be able to go or, at least, would consider going. I can not guarantee a perfect correctness of the information nor present the latest up-dates or changes of program.
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