Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Discover Catalan Giants in Vilafranca del Penedès (Barcelona) – or: Weekend Recommendations, March 22-24

During the weekend March 22-24, visitors in the cava and wine region Penedès will be able to discover some of the most beloved characters in Catalan folk culture; the Giants (gegants). On Sunday March 24, the annual Dia del Geganter (“the Giant Carrier’s Day”) is celebrated in Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès) and this is one of the first opportunities in Catalonia this year to see several giant couples dancing around in the streets together.

Giants are a very old element in the Catalan folklore – the tradition was documented in the town of Barcelona as early as 1424! On our local level, the tall giants of Vilanova i la Geltrú can be traced back more than 300 years!

The characters of a giant couple usually depict earlier kings and queens - or noblemen of special importance to a town – and are dressed up in copies of traditional clothes reserved for special celebrations. These figures were historically made of wood and carton-pierre, so the heaviest versions could easily weigh more than 100 kg. Nowadays some materials are replaced with lighter alternatives (eg. aluminium), in an effort to enable more giant carriers (geganters) to lift their bodies and to make them dance. A typical dance for giants usually involves a lot of spinning, a movement which is difficult to master but which creates an impressive visual effect when the centrifugal force lifts up the thick skirts.

Practical information in English on the Giant Carrier's Day in Vilafranca del Penedès can be found at Discover Penedès, where you can also check out several other events which take place here during the coming weekend: jazz concerts in El Vendrell (Baix Penedès), a regatta in Sitges (Garraf), a mountain running race in La Llacuna (Anoia), a mountain bike competition in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf), different guided tours and a lot more.

Why not spend this weekend in Penedès?

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Related earlier post:
Exceptional Corpus with the Giants of Vilanova
Giants and human towers – Festa Major 2009 – Day 4

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Mona & Göran: In the video this week, Göran tries to explain how he can live in Puigmoltó while his wife Mona lives in Sitges, although they share the same house. On top of this he reveals that he loves F.C. Barcelona, since this is “more than a club” (més que un club).

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External source: Wikipedia in Catalan

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