I wrote this post earlier this month before the protests and demonstrations began. By the time I was ready to post it, it didn’t feel right to put up a post about celebrations when we had a day off school because we weren’t sure if busses would be able to make it to school. It felt a bit disrespectful to post about parties and celebrations when there was so much unrest. There are still protests and demonstrations but as things have begun to calm down a bit and it is in fact another holiday, Halloween, I think it’s safe to say this post is timely.
Another weekend another celebration. In fact, I was sitting in the staff cafeteria yesterday and a friend turned to remind me “it’s a holiday this weekend don’t forget”. Of course it is. And it falls on Saturday to boot, so I guess it looks like my grocery shopping will have to happen Friday after work this week.
I haven’t lived in Spain long, but I have already figured out that they love a good celebration. There was the Garcia festival, La Mercè, Les Corts festival and several more holidays and neighborhood festivals sprinkled in between. Each has its own flavor and feel, but one thing unites them all and that’s the feeling of community and how they bring people together.
There are activities for kids and families at many of these celebrations and it’s common to see young kids out quite late joining in the fun. There are also traditional elements with songs, chants and activities that every local seems to know. What’s really quite lovely about all of these festivals is seeing all the families out together celebrating.
Being new and wanting to experience as much as I can while I’m here, I try and make it a point to get to as many of these events as possible. It’s always so interesting to see how people are celebrating and the traditions that everyone knows. Some of my favorite sights so far are:
Correfoc! Now I have to confess. I don’t like “unsafe” activities. Playing with sparklers at Fourth of July, nope. Participating in something that can possibly injury myself, I think I’ll pass thanks. So to go see the correfoc where giant sparklers/fireworks are lit off the end of poles held by people, as bystanders run in close to go under the sparks, didn’t seem like a first choice activity for me. But in true scary cat, Katy fashion I watched from a “safe” distance and let out startled screams only the first 10 times the fireworks exploded. Did I thoroughly enjoy every moment, yep! I guess sometimes it’s good to push yourself.
Human towers. That’s right people climb one on top of one another topping off with a small, light, agile child (wearing a helmet so no worries). It is an amazing sight to behold and leaves you standing there practically holding your breath not even realizing it until the people start to ever so cautiously but quickly climb back down one another.
Giants. This was an amazing experience to witness. It is a family event with tons of little kids happily perched on the shoulders of their parents so they can watch the giants dance to traditional music. Kids and parents alike are captivated by the giants. The detail that goes into the creation of these giants is amazing. How the people inside walk around without bumping into anything is beyond me. My favorite moment though was during one of the songs that starts and parents and kids all bust into song. It was clearly a traditional song that everyone learns from a young age.
I love all the festivals here in Barcelona. The people here have found a reason to celebrate just about everything. Each weekend there is something new to see or do in one neighborhood or another. I can’t wait to experience more festivals throughout the year.
It is always great to experience another cultures celebrations. Enjoy your long weekend travelling to Valencia this weekend. Also, have a great time in Budapest for your Thanksgiving break. We are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with you in Brussels.