Sunday, 23 August 2009
Basil Plants, Funny Games, Morris Men and More Giants - Festa Major 2009, Day 6
On Monday, August 3, it was never my intention to take part in the funny team games of the so called Gimcana, but I was sure that I would be able to pass by a few of the stations to take pictures, but an important delivery to my company came so late that I missed it all. I regret that, since the pabordes – the committee which organizes our festa major – had made a great effort promoting it with posters and setting the rules in a way to make it a meeting point over the generations.
In my eyes, this should be the first steps towards making use of the Gimcana to invite newcomers into the Festa Major traditions. Something needs to be done to avoid a future dilution of local traditions, especially if Vilanova i la Geltrú again starts to grow at the same pace as before the crisis.
Speaking of the crisis, what I at least managed to document on this Monday morning were the pabordes decorating the Rambla with basil (alfàbrega) plants carrying the name of vilanovins who had adopted the Festa Major 2009. The fee was modest - € 5 per person – but the total contribution to the budget (€ 2.600) was enough to finance one of the concerts.
In the late afternoon, after work, I watched the international element of this Festa Major – the Gloucester Shire Morris Men – perform stick dances (ball de bastons) together with the main team (gran colla) from here. Judging from reactions in local media, the people of Vilanova were delighted to see the resemblance between the dance forms. Personally, I was more concerned with one big difference: the youngest English dancers were about the same age as the oldest ones among the Catalans. Here the ball de bastons is so popular that young people who want to become members have to put down their names on waiting lists but, most likely, will never make it to the teams. In the U.K., unfortunately, the opposite is true.
Both the tall (gegants grossos) and the small giants (gegants petits) of Vilanova were exhibited in the Saturday meeting of centennial giants from all around Catalonia, so only for the beautiful gegants de la Geltrú was our local parade (baixada dels gegants) the top event of the Festa Major 2009. Therefore, I did not expect the to be especially popular, however, a surprisingly big share of the population lined the streets or followed behind them and it felt as if we were all taking photos. The giants are obviously among the most appreciated inhabitants of this town.
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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Festa Major, Penedès, Vilanova