Thursday, March 1, 2012

Castellers, Human towers

After the eating of the calçots on Saturday, it was time for some entertainment, Catalan style : Castellers, or Castellets (diminutive form of the word). It was translated on a flyer as “Human towers”.

This is a form of entertainment very typical at Catalan festes or festivals. The tradition started in Valls, the town of the big calçotada I wrote about in this post.

So what is it? -People climbing each other to make a high tower! The tower starts with a strong base, the pinya, lots of people in circles to hold the tower. When the base is strong and ready, the next group of people climbs onto the necks of some of those in the base to form the next level. And like this they continue until a child climbs all the way up to the top and completes the tower. Then they all slide down the backs of the ones under them and it’s fascinating to watch. Especially the child, climbing monkey-style, cool!

Pictures step by step:










The height varies but it’s not unusual to see a Casteller with 8-10 people in hight from the ground and up. 8-10 people! There is a lot of suspense in this though, as sometimes the towers break, they lose balance or strength and people fall down. Thankfully that didn’t happen this weekend, that would be horrible to watch. The group performing this weekend was apparently a small one but there are competitions with Castellers being held on different occasions in Barcelona and I am looking forward to seeing them again!

Found a video on youtube if you’re interested! While searching for a video to post, I watched a few, and came across one where the tower broke and they all fell, they were flying through the air, horrible! (That doesn't happen in this one, I promise!) 


Have you ever seen this?

9 comments:

  1. Yes it's quite nerve wracking isn't it? I asked someone once if he would let his little boy be the child who goes to the top and he said definitely Yes! I'm not so sure I could. but I like the absence of Health and Safely Police who in the UK would put a stop to it all. K x

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    1. Yes nerve wracking! I am so glad it went well, and I caught myself thinking "Who would want their precious little one to climb on top of that thing" haha, while at the same time I though it's probably something prestigious about it and that parents might be proud to have their child do the honours... How funny you had actually asked someone!

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  2. Wait till September to watch the competition between different groups at the "festes de la merce". Each team playing their instruments (drums, flutes and others) walking at las ramblas till they reach the placa de sant jaume where the competition takes place. I agree with thecatalanway. It is nerve wracking especially that accidents could happen. I saw one myself where the top three fell while trying to slide down after a successful tower build. Fortunately, they were all fine.

    I love Barcelona. Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you, I am already looking forward to that now!! But it sounds horrible when they fall, (or well I did see a few on youtube that fell and it was horrible!)

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  3. Wow, I'd never seen or heard of this! How cool!

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  4. Wow. Very cool. I fear for the little kids climbing to the top.

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    1. Me too, the "tower" can be so tall and it's really ugly when they fall down :-/

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    2. gee, i loved those pics, i've just read about it, but never seen it!!

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