Barcelona being a very festive city, pays tribute to one of their saints, Saint Eulalia, on February 12th. The weekend before, there were castellers (human towers) and correfocs (fire runs). Friday night, we saw the human towers in Plaza St. Jaume. The people had lights on their arms and legs in different colors that would change according to the music. The massive crowd cheered as the tiny child climbed up the 5 stories of people and quickly raised his hand to signal the finishing of the tower. It was amazing to see this Catalan tradition with a special twist during the night. The casteller groups would race one another, adding another element of excitement, and they were encouraged to go faster by the clapping people surrounding them.
On Sunday night, we participated in the correfoc. We were unsure where the people ran but we stumbled upon the parade near the Cathedral in the gothic area. There were loud drums and chanting that led us right into the heart of the correfoc. Dragons spewed “fire” from their mouths into the herds of people. There were people dressed up as devils with torches running into the crowds that lined the tiny cobblestoned streets.
Before I left the house my host mom had warned me to wear cotton. The fireworks would land right on you, which added to the element of fear throughout the crowd as these could be dangerous if they stuck to your clothing. My roommate and I ran around hiding behind tall people and dodged as many of the devils as possible.
The beating drums and squealing fireworks made it seem like I had gone back in time, a time where these traditions began. The history that is present in this city surrounds you wherever you are, but these festivals make it seem like you are truly a part of something.
Staying in Barcelona for a whole semester allows me to partake in so many cultural aspects that many tourists do not get to see. At the end of my trip there is the day of St. George, a festival similar to Valentine’s Day. The roads supposedly fill with roses and books because the men give women roses and the women give men books. I cannot wait to participate in this tradition for my last couple nights in Spain. The picture attached tried to capture the correfoc essence that I was a part of.