Sunday, 18 August 2013

Festa Major de Cardedeu

Well, what a weekend! I had been looking forward to this for sometime, as August is Festa Major time. Festa Major is a week-long party in most towns around Catalonia. Barcelona celebrate it in a big way too, with the Gracia Festival. In Cardedeu, it goes from Wednesday night through till Sunday night.
Festa Major - woo hoo!
40C heat - doh!
Thursday afternoon, our two friends Rick and Merja turned up in the village on their bike. They timed their 3 month, European bike tour perfectly - to be in Cardedeu with us for Festa Major. The left England back in May, and have ridden their bike through Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and even Russia - not bad!! Very jealous though!! Thanks for popping in guys - great seeing you!

'The Bike' all the way from London.
The temperature had been baking lately, with tops of 40c, so we waited the heat out by 'hydrating' at a local bar before heading into the village for some music, (more) beer, and general partying. The vibe here is just fantastic - the whole village unites to organise bands, clowns, music, drinks, firework shows and everything else you can image, then they enjoy it together - problem free. The police in the town don't really have anything to, but wander around and enjoy it as well. If the same thing was done in England, or even Australia for that matter, would be closed down and banned, and a few people arrested along the way.

El Gigants
 On Friday night, there was the 'Correfoc' for children. Correfoc means 'fire run' and yes, children were doing this one. It is much like the 'Festa del Foc' meantioned in a previous post, but children we the 'diables' this time. Noise, smoke, and of the course the banging of the crackers, the excited screams of children, and of course people who'd had a front row seat dashing for cover as the kids let their fireworks off. Great fun! There were a few singed eyebrows, but it was a lot of fun.
A woman dancing the Sardana with 'espardenyes' (traditional Catalan shoes).
That's a big Paella!
There is something for everyone, all day, everyday for 5 days. For instance; Saturday morning there were the Gigants (Giants) dancing, a band was playing, there was an all-out water fight happening in the park (organised by the local emergency services), people dancing the Sardana, and then the biggest Paella you've ever seen in your life! La Monumental Paella started cooking at round 11am, and was finished at 2pm - it's enough to feed 200 people they reckon, but I'm sure there will be left overs. Everyone comes down and fills up various containers (pots, pans, bowls...) takes it back to their seat in the park (along with the 199 other people) and enjoys a nice paella with some wine and company - great!

Not finished, but lookin' good! Keep rowing!!
OH&S nightmare or just AWESOME?
A father hiding behind his son.
On Saturday, the 'Correfoc' and 'Correaigua' happened - this time for adults. Although I've seen a few of these, and the Festa del Foc as well, this was by far the craziest, and most fun, I have ever seen. It started off as normal - boom, boom, beating of the drums. Then the Diables come in and start dancing with the fire, followed by the biggest, baddest pig you've ever seen - The Verro. This is when it turned crazy - kids and their parents charged in to dance with the devils and the boar, sparks flying, music blaring, and the explosions of the Verros arse (well, the crackers were attached to him...). It was fun, exciting, dangerous and out of this world, all at the same time!
The EU would have a heart attack if they knew about this... don't tell them!!
 This went on for some time - nearly an hour of ear popping, hair singeing, plain old run-for-your life kind of fun. I got burnt a little, which was my own fault as I got even closer when everyone else ran away. The spark went right through my t-shirt, and burnt my chest, missing my nipple by an inch - phew! I did feel like a war photojournalist, dodging gunfire, ducking when there was an explosion - something I dreamed of doing as a kid, but not want my mum wanted me to do.
El Verro charging the crowd.
After this had finished, it was time for the Correaigua. This means 'Water Run' but it was actually just a big dance party with the local 'bombers' (firemen) hosing people down in the square in front of the church. Children and adults, t-shirts and jeans, flip-flops and bikinis, it was all going on. When this was all done and finished, people dried off, grabbed another drink, and went straight back into the party... which went till 6am in the morning. I didn't stay that long this night, but I did hear the festivities from my bedroom 2 kms away.
The 'Correaigua' which was just a big old hose-down!

Castells in Tarragona

It's Castell Time! The Concurs de Castells, held every 2 years in Tarragona. The 'pack' - forming the pinya for a Huma...