Sunday, 23 August 2009

Cercavila de l'Imaginari - Legends and Stories from Vilanova i la Geltrú

On the last day of the local Festa Major, some 200 children from Vilanova i la Geltrú take part in a performance parade called la Cercavila de l’Imaginari. It consists of eight dances which tell and illustrate the following legends or true stories (click on the names of the dances to see the corresponding YouTube clips):

The Founding of the New Town (la fundació de la Vila Nova): Vilanova was founded by people from la Geltrú who did not like the feudal lord (played by a giant) and therefore built a new town (Vilanova, of course, means the “new town”) on the other side of the river. In 1274, it was acknowledged a town by king James I (Jaume I, the other giant).

Miralpeix: Legend has it that the Christians fooled the Saracens (saraïns) to leave a strategic castle here by drawing their attention to a huge fish (mira el peix means ‘look at the fish’).

The Fishermen (els Pescadors): This dance is a celebration to the role the fishing port has always played for this town.

The moon in a basket (la lluna en un cove): Vilanovins are said to be llunàtic;-moon crazy or, at least, overly stubborn. This is the legend about a boy who could not stop trying to catch the reflection of the moon in a basket.

The Caves of Ribes (les coves de Ribes): Legend has it that a huge snake kept a treasure in one of the caves of Ribes, and that all riders who tried to recuperate it were petrified after looking into its eyes. In the parade, instead of spitting fire this snake spits water.

The arrival of the railway (l’arribada del ferrocarril): Historically, people from here took their produce to Barcelona either by boat or via Vilafranca. This dance reminds us that only in 1881 did Vilanova really start to develop after local investor Gumà i Ferran had financed the construction of railway tunnels through the mountains of Garraf.

The Grapevine (el cep): This is a maypole dance about the vintage. The festa major of Vilanova is celebrated in honour of the Patron Saint Virgin Mary (la Mare de Deu de les Neus) who, in the 18th century, is said to have intervened when hailstorms year after year destroyed the harvest.

The Waterwheel (la Sínia): A celebration of agriculture where the rings of the dance has its inspiration in the movement of waterwheels.

Read more about the Cercavila de l'Imaginari in English on this blog and on the official web-page in Catalan and Spanish.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Festa Major, Penedès, Vilanova

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