Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A Generic Catalan Human Tower Calendar

Here is a summary of some places and dates when you can see human towers (castells) in Catalonia. Find the background, sources and explanations to the calendar at the end of the entry.

April 23; Catalonia: the Day of Sant Jordi is when many teams (colles) make their first performance of the season.

The third week of May; Vilafranca del Penedès (BCN): During the ‘fairs of May’ (fires de maig).

June 24; Valls (TGN): Part of the Sant Joan celebrations.

First week of July; Terrassa (BCN): During the Festa Major.

Third Sunday of July; Mataró (BCN): During the celebrations of Les Santes.

July 26, el Vendrell (TGN): During the Festa Major.

Early August; Vilanova i la Geltrú (BCN): During the Festa Major.

August 15; la Bisbal (TGN): Part of the Mare de Déu d’Agost celebrations.

August 19; City of Tarragona: Part of the Sant Magí celebrations.

Last Sunday of August; l’Arboç (TGN): During the Festa Major.

August 30; In the plaça de la Vila of Vilafranca del Penedès (BCN): the Day of Sant Fèlix – Catalonias most prestigious human tower day with top teams from the whole of Catalonia.

August 31; Vilafranca del Penedès (BCN): a human tower day with the two local teams.

September 11; Catalonia: Some teams make exhibitions to celebrate the National Day of Catalonia (la Diada).

September 23; in front of the cathedral of Tarragona: the Day of Santa Tecla where you can see the ‘walking pillars’.

The Sunday closest to September 24; In the plaça de Sant Jaume I of Barcelona: the Day of la Mercè.

First Sunday of October, but only in even years; In the plaça de Braus of Tarragona: the human tower competition Concurs de Castells.

Mid-October; el Vendrell (TGN): Part of the Santa Teresa Fair.

Late October; City of Girona: Part of the ‘Girona fair’.

Third Sunday of October; Valls (TGN): During the Festa Major de Santa Ursula. Valls is the origin of the Catalan human tower tradition.

November 1; Vilafranca del Penedès (BCN); During the Tots Sants Day.

Third Sunday of November; Terrassa (BCN): The Day of the Minyons de Terrassa.

Fourth Sunday of November: Vilanova i la Geltrú (BCN): The Day of the Bordegassos de Vilanova.

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Sources, background, advice and explanations:

The inspiration and main source to this calendar comes from El Fet Casteller by la Fura, but is up-dated with my own findings.

During our first years in Catalonia, I considered it very difficult to in advance find out where I would be able to see a performance of human towers (castells) and regularly missed events taking place in our neighbour towns. This is largely a problem for newcomers like tourists and expats, since the Catalans themselves know that almost all human tower days (diades castelleres) form part of the festa major celebrations and therefore come back about the same date, year after year. This generic calendar does not does not provide you with exact details on when, where and by whom there will be a performance but can hopefully help you to circle in which days and towns are of interest.

If the event you want to see takes place in the area stretching from Barcelona via the Penedès to Tarragona, you might be able to find more details in the ‘Event Calendars by’. Alternatively you might find out more in the web-page of the town hall (ajuntament) of the town where the exhibition will take place.

Most human tower exhibitions take place outside the centre of Barcelona, but can easily be reached by car or commuter trains (Renfe Rodalies). BCN means the province of Barcelona and TGN the province of Tarragona.

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Technorati tags: Castellers, Catalonia, Festa Major, Human Towers, Penedès

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