Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Festa Major in Vilanova i la Geltrú 2011 - Recommendations in English on the Program

In a few days we will celebrate the Festa Major of Vilanova i la Geltrú 2011. Below you will find a summary of what I – from my originally Swedish and totally subjective perspective - would recommend. My focus is on folkculture (cultura popular) but that does not mean that I will not take part in events of other kinds.

The full official program in Catalan can be found here, but in case you want to receive personal advice, do not hesitate to comment on this post, contact me on Twitter or approach the human tower builders Bordegassos de Vilanova (in yellow shirts) and ask for “el suec” (the Swede). It is my firm opinion that the Festa Major of Vilanova i la Geltrú deserves to be discovered also by those of you who do not (yet) live here.

And, by the way: During the Festa Major, the pabordes (let us say, the organizing committee) asks everyone to dress up in white.

Friday, July 29
21:30 - a huge Catalan flag (la senyera) will be hung from the church tower in plaça Sant Antoni (on the northern side of our main church, at the top of the Rambla).
22:00 (approximately) – the correfoc (firerun) with fire spitting dragons and several teams of devils dancers (diables) will start from plaça de les Neus (on the southern side of the aforementioned church), proceed through the streets of the town centre and end in plaça de la Vila with a ceiling of fire (sostre de foc). In case you want to participate, make sure to put on old long sleeved and long legged clothes plus cover your hair. And do not be ashamed of putting in ear plugs – I will.

Saturday, July 30
11:00 – the Festa Major rowing challenge in Catalan llaguts (a boat type) on the beach Ribes Roges, in front of Estació Nàutica.
18:30 – the human tower exhibition of the Festa Major 2011. Starting with a parade down from plaça Pau Casals, followed by the actual exhibition (at approx. 19:00) in plaça de la Vila. Participants: the local team Bordegassos de Vilanova, the best team of Catalonia Castellers de Vilafranca (which have announced that they plan to build one construction from the so called gamma extra) and Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona.

Sunday, July 31
19:00 – the Falcons de Vilanova and their guests Meaka Dantza Taldea from Irun (Gipuzkoa) will parade through the town and then build acrobatic human towers in plaça de la Vila.

Monday, August 1
21:00Haveneres i Rom Cremat – "Songs from Havana" - performed by the group Bergantí rounded off by a glass of burnt rum – at the monument of Francesc Macià, at the bottom of Rambla de la Pau.

Tuesday, August 2
20:00 - the Festa Major Concert by the local music conservatory Mestre Montserrat, in plaça de la Vila.

Wednesday, August 3
18:00 – the smallest children of the town are invited to get rid of their pacifiers by giving them to the mulasses (giant donkeys), in plaça de la Vila.
19:00 – The three giant couples from Vilanova and la Geltrú will be paraded down (baixada dels gegants) from carrer Sant Josep, via the Rambla to plaça de la Vila, where they will all dance at the same time.
▫ After this giant performance (approximately at 20:30) the drum orchestra (batucada) Son da Rua will parade through the town.
21:00 – the Vilanova girls’ team of Ball de Bastons (Catalan stick dance) will celebrate their 25th anniversary by performing la Boja in plaça de les Cols.

Thursday, August 4
11:30 – writer Teresa Costa i Gramunt has been selected and will read the Festa Major invitation in the assembly hall of the town hall (ajuntament), in the plaça de la Vila.
12:00 – the main days of the Festa Major 2011 will start with 12 cannon ball shots being fired off in the same square, accompanied by bell ringing from all churches. After this, a there will be small performances first in this square and then throughout the town center.
18:30 – a big popular culture parade will take place in the town centre (cercavila de la Vigília), starting from plaça de les Casernes, proceeding via plaça de les Cols and plaça de les Neus, then following the Rambla and ending in plaça de la Vila, where all participating teams will make a joint performance at (approximately) 20:00.
23:00 – the Festa Major fireworks on the beach Ribes Roges.

Friday, August 5
9:00 – a popular culture parade (cercavila d’anada a ofici) will follow the pabordes and politicians on their way up to the church Sant Antoni, starting from plaça de la Vila and following C/ Caputxins. The part not to miss is the joint performance in plaça Sant Antoni, while local dignitaries enter the church.
10:00 – the Festa Major mass in the church Sant Antoni.
11:30 – a popular culture parade (cercavila de sortida d’ofici) will follow the pabordes and local politicians back to the plaça de la Vila, where there will be small performances (including human towers), starting at 12:30.
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 (cercavila del Vot del Poble) will start in plaça de la Vila, follow C/ Caputxins downwards and then take to the North via the Rambla and end in plaça de les Neus. Once there, the inhabitants’ vow to be faithful to our Patron Saint la Mare de Deu de les Neus (Virgin Mary) will be followed by a joint performance and (what else?) fireworks.

Saturday, August 6
19:00 – Vilanova i la Geltrú’s childrens parade, based on local legends - la cercavila de l'Imaginari – will round off the popular culture part of the Festa Major 2011.

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Find Vilanova's official Festa Major home page in Catalan here.

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It is my plan to up-load video clips of the Festa Major in Vilanova i la Geltrú 2011. If I actually find the time to do so, then you will be able to find them here.

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