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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Castellers: The Human Towers of Catalonia

Castellers Top of the Castell

The spotlight of a castell, the standard Catalonian human towers, is when the little children placed on their helmets and rapidly climb all the way in which to the highest of the castell, wanting fearless and agile like little monkeys, whereas the gang watches nervously. The group’s musicians, the “Gralles”, play the standard castells tune. The gang goes wild and begins cheering and applauding as soon as the enxaneta, the little youngster on the very high of the tower, raises his or her hand and the tower is full.

Castells: An age outdated Catalan custom

Castellers completed towerThe colles castelleres, groups of human tower builders, might be seen throughout Barcelona and Catalunya in the summertime. They’re wearing white pants, colourful shirts that sign which colle (group) they belong to, and a black sash round their waist. Most avenue festivals embody at the very least one castell occasion, typically attended by a internet hosting group and at the very least two visitor teams. As soon as each two years, there’s an enormous castellers competitors in Tarragona.

To an outsider, castells can somewhat loopy, a household excessive sport the place the little ones are essentially the most daring ones. To catalonians, it’s an age outdated custom, a neighborhood sport that has an over 200 12 months outdated historical past. They originated within the rural areas of Catalonia, in Valls close to Tarragona, on the finish of the 18th century as a part of a kind of dance. The tip of every dance efficiency included an acrobatic efficiency of males constructing a small pyramid or tower. Over time, the castells grew to become unbiased and the purpose was now not a creative dance efficiency, however a problem of who might construct the very best tower.

Constructing a castell

Castellers base
The strongest males construct the bottom of the castell, assisted by an enormous group of individuals surrounding them for help

Castellers BuildupA castell is advanced: There’s an enormous group of individuals forming a base, known as the pinya. The pinya offers help to make the tower steady, however it additionally acts as a type of human security internet if the tower collapses – which does generally occur. The tower is then constructed on high of the pinya, generally with second and third stage bases (folre and manilles) in between. Essentially the most expert groups will construct towers as excessive as eight to 10 ranges. Robust males stand on the backside of the tower. Whereas castells have been initially a predominantly male exercise, most colles at this time have the upper ranges of the tower shaped by girls and kids to minimise the burden carried by the decrease ranges. The highest stage is shaped by two kids, the dosos, held collectively by one other youngster crouching within the center, the aixecador. The best level of the castell is the enxaneta, who climbs to the highest and indicators the completion of the castell by elevating 4 fingers within the air. It’s mentioned that the 4 fingers symbolize the Catalan flag. The enxenata will solely stay on the high for a brief second after which climb down once more, since a castell is just thought-about fully profitable whether it is dismantled with out falling.

The gralles, the musicians, are additionally an integral a part of a castell efficiency. Each colle has a bunch of musicians to accompany them, principally consisting of drummers and flute gamers. Not solely do they supply a form of conventional soundtrack, the music can also be coordinated with the constructing and dismantling of the castell, thereby serving to these which can be a part of the castell however unable to see the progress to know the place within the technique of constructing and dismantling the castell they’re.

Movies: Castellers in motion

The perfect colle of the previous few years, the Castellers de Vilafranca efficiently assembling and dismantling a 10-level castell with folre and manilles. Watch the response of the gang!

One other one: Impressions from the castell competitors in Tarragona

Casteller from Mike Randolph on Vimeo.

And in case you’re actually keen on studying concerning the buildup, right here’s a video (in Catalan, however very visible) of the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls sharing the “secrets and techniques” of constructing a 9 stage castell.

Wish to see a dwell castell? Listed below are some occasions this 12 months to verify them out:

Festa Main de Gracia
Public observe session of the Castellers de la Vila de Gracia on August sixteenth and nineteenth. That is your probability to get in on the motion! The general public is inspired to take part as part of the pinya.

La Merce
The Castellers efficiency at Plaza Sant Jaume is likely one of the highlights of the La Merce pageant, going down across the twenty fourth of September. This system is just launched about two weeks earlier than the occasion, so watch their web site for the precise date.

Concurs de Castells
The well-known Concurs de Castells is a biannual competitors, the biggest castells competitors in Catalunya. It’s occurring this 12 months! Will happen on September twenty eighth, October 4th and fifth.

Or take a look at the full occasion calendar of the castell affiliation, the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya.

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