While traveling the world it is always important to take a minute to discover and appreciate the culture and traditions of the place you are in. Although the following Catalan traditions have been around for centuries, they have become so engrained in the culture of Catalonia that you can observe them even today.
Castellers is the Catalan word for “castles” and this incredible towering act certainly lives up to its name. Up to ten tiers high, men stand on each other’s shoulders in the middle of crowded plazas, creating an insanely tall stack of humans. Then, a small child climbs to the top and raises one hand with four fingers to the sky, signifying the stripes of the Catalan flag with pride.
Every part of the world has their own folklore, and a little guy named Patufet happens to be the star of one of Cataluña’s most famous stories. Patufet, who is the size of a grain of rice, wears a red cap so his parents are able to see him. In this tale, this michevious lad tries to be useful and kind-hearted but finds himself in the belly of an ox. Patufet is the typical story of growing up and taking on responsibility in the Catalan culture.
Correfoc literally translated to “fire run” is exactly what it sounds like. Fireworks blare and people dressed as devils run about, creating an image of chaos like you’ve never seen before. This may sound like an event filled with malevolent creatures with their devilish costumes and obsession with fire, they are actually just the opposite. Correfocs occur at some of the major festivals in Cataluña, such as the Merce Festival in September, celebrating with plenty of fireworks and dances to the deep beat of drums.
As the national dance of Cataluña, the traditional Sardana dance embodies Catalan pride. With hands clasped together to form a circle of unity, the Sardana symbolizes the feeling of independence that Catalan people identify with. As the music from the “colba,” or group of musicians playing various brass instruments, fills the air, people take small, calculated steps while raising their hands up. More and more people join in the circle, strengthening the feeling of Catalan pride in the air. Sardana gatherings are abundant during the summer in the early evenings and take place in large plazas around the city.