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Summer Magic

20 Jun 2006  Catalonia
4.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

During the summer months in Catalonia, spectacular summer festivals (festes) liven up the streets. Human Castles, Fire devils, Giants, Massive headed puppets, Havaneres are only some of the special things you can see.

  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Summer
  • 1. Patum, Patum, Patum (15-18 June)

    As dusk descends over the valley, the evening atmosphere bodes magic to come as the Festival of La Patum, celebrated for Corpus Christi, gets off to an electric start. Folkloric dances animate the summer streets as a series of fantastical characters twinkle and twirl.

  • 2. Reus Summer Festival (24-29 June)

    one of the truly amazing events to be experienced this June can be lived at the summer festival of Reus. A showcase of fiery magic is celebrated for the day of Saint Peter on the 29th of June. The festival begins days before on the 24th of June, immediately after the Saint Joan solstice festivities celebrated on Mid Summer's Eve across Catalonia on the 23rd. It doesn't take much imagination, therefore, to realize that this festival will rock Reus in true Catalan festa style.

    Reus is situated about 70 kilometres from Barcelona, very near to Tarragona. The 24th of June is the opening night of the Reus Summer festival and as the heat of the day simmers down, the city wakes up and shakes out its festival feathers in a whirl of fantastical Catalan dances. This year, a special display of Human Castles Castellers can be viewed in the main square at 6pm, followed directly at 7pm by the Dance of the Giants, and other folkloric elements. It is at 8pm, however, that the festa is officially declared open when a series of fiery blasts light up the ground in a Catalan tradition called the Tronada.

    Stemming from the 17th century, the Tronada is used to mark an important moment in the town's calendar, originally carried out with cannon shots. The Tronada consists of a square shaped network of metal cylinders filled with gunpowder that are strung together with firecrackers along the ground. One long line of firecrackers leads up to the explosives, so that once it is lit a chain of explosions begins much in the same was as a line of Dominoes.

    The 28th and 29th June, the final days of the festival, are also spectacular not least due to the processions (cercavila) of folkloric figures that accompany the figure of Saint Peter through the streets of Reus. The Eagle, Dragon, Mule and Giants are only some of the mythical creatures that make an appearance. On arriving at the main square, the Mayor comes out onto his balcony to give the signal for the final Tronada to begin.

  • 3. City of the Giants at Medieval Monblanc (6-9 July)

    Named Montblanc (White Mountain), originally due to the lack of green vegetation, the town today, set amidst lush vineyards and abundant fields in Catalonia, can be compared only to a fairy tale kingdom. Built on top of a hill in the 11th century as a safeguard against flooding from the nearby rivers, Montblanc maintains its old world atmosphere within high medieval walls. Your trip will set you down in authentic Catalonia, where you can stroll round the town. On this tour, you will be able to watch one of the biggest annual gatherings of Giants in Catalonia. Huge 20 foot puppet like dolls, dressed in grandiose costumes from different areas of Catalonia, will congregate in the main square before taking part in medieval dancing and fire whirls. The Giant Dances stem from the 14th century when the town Guilds in Catalonia paid for the creation of fantastical, folkloric figures that accompanied the ecclesiastical processions on religious feast days. In Montblanc there will be plenty of time to sample a local snack in one of the bars or restaurants in the town, as well as undertaking some rather unusual sightseeing! The company culTOURa runs a day trip in English to this event.