Sunday, 23 August 2009

Giants and Human Towers – Festa Major 2009, Day 4

Saturday August 1 was the day which gave me, personally, the strongest memories of the Festa Major 2009 of Vilanova i la Geltrú.

From lunch time and onwards, the celebration of the 300th anniversary of our giants culminated, starting with an exhibition in the plaça de la Vila. It was quite a sight it was to see all these antique giants together in one square and one thing which struck me much more here than in the museum were the big size differences; from the extremely tall ones like those from Barcelona or Sitges, to those being merely oversized humans, like the Gegants Vitxens from Reus or the Giants from Plaça Nova. As a grand final to this jubilee, all giants couples made a dance parade trhough the town.

Directly after the last giant couple had left the plaça de la Vila, the people who build human towers entered for the diada castellera of the Festa Major. It might have been thanks to the giant exhibition, but it can also have been because the Catalan champions the Castellers de Vilafranca were here: the square was much more full of people than during the last few years. To make things better, we received some state-of-the-art performances.

The "Green Ones" (els verds de Vilafranca) who will make an attempt to build a tower of ten levels during their coming Festa Major demonstrated their strength not only in technique – opening with an advanced eight level construction (4 de 8 amb l’agulla, descarregat) two solid nine level towers (3 de 9, descarregat and 4 de 9, descarregat) but also in participation – occasionally I had a feeling that a quarter of the square was green.

Our local Bordegassos took an important step in their recuperation of former fame by successfully erecting and disassembling and advanced tower of seven levels (torre de 7) and most of them were so happy that they rapidly forgot about the unsuccessful attempt to build a tower of 8 levels (3 de 8).

From the third team - the Colla Jove dels Xiquets de Valls – relatively few people turned up in Vilanova, and still they easily erected three eight level towers (3 de 8, 5 de 8 and 4 de 8).

Thanks to the Bordegassos I had the opportunity to watch the diada castellera from a very privileged position on a town hall balcony. I was aware that this would cause a bit of irritation among some vilanovins, but did not even consider not accepting the offer. Most likely, this will have been my last opportunity to watch the Bordegassos from above: I plan to join the team and since I am above Catalan average height we can assume that I will never make it above the base (pinya).

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The giants exhibited in the plaça de la Vila – clockwise from the tall giants (gegants grossos) of Vilanova – were: the giants of plaça Nova (Barcelona), giants del Carnaval (Casa Caritat; Barcelona), giants of Badalona, gegantons of and giants of Mataró, giants of Manresa, giants of Lleida, giants of Cardona (comarca: Bages), giants of Vic, giants of l'Arboç, giants of Santa Maria del Mar (Barcelona), old giants of Tarragona. On the other side of the square stood the giants Indis, Moros and Vitxets, respectively, from Reus, giants from Sitges, giants del Pi and gegantons del Pi (Barcelona), giants of Vilafranca, giants of the City of Barcelona, and the small giants of Vilanova.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Festa Major, Penedès, Vilanova


Sarah said...


He trobat el teu bloc per casualitat, però volia fer un comentari perquè hi puc simpatitzar molt! Sóc nord-americana i vaig viure un any a Barcelona - també m'encanta la cultura popular catalana. Em vaig fer castellera quan havia viscut a Catalunya gairebé un més i mig, i era una experiència inolvidable; t'ho recomano totalment (tot i que veig que ja aprecies els castells)! Espero que en puguis fer realitat de les teves ambicions castelleres. No te'n penediràs!

Salut i castells des de Chicago!

Erik Wirdheim said...

Hola Sarah,

Gràcies per animar-me. Ja he estat al meu primer assaig i demà participaré a la meva primera actuació en una plaça.

Per cert: tens un català escrit molt bó per ser estrangera. Ets un model per a tots nosaltres.


Sarah said...

Hola Erik,

Gràcies per la resposta! Espero que la vostra actuació hagi anat bé! Quina enveja d'haver pogut veure Sant Fèlix... jo el vaig mirar per internet, però algun dia m'encantaria poder anar-hi.

El teu català escrit també és impressionant - m'anima pensar que hi ha més gent estrangera realment interesada en conèixer la llengua i cultura catalana, les quals jo trobo tan meravelloses.

Apa, salut i castells!