The fet casteller
Els castells (castles) are one of the quintessential traditions of Catalan culture, hundreds of people united to defy gravity and climb on top of each other to create buildings that have reached up to ten floors. The small dwarfs that crown the structure when they raise their hands are the representative symbol of the castles, but the strength, balance, courage and responsibility behind this gesture have allowed this centuries-old tradition to continue and still give us goosebumps.
Entering the fet casteller during the month of August means moving to Camp de Tarragona and Penedès, regions that are the cradle of this tradition and where most of the colles and most important performances of the season are currently located.
The fet casteller
To understand the "fet casteller", it is necessary to know that it is an activity from the beginning of the 19th century and of origin linked to the party dances that the people of the countryside of the South of Catalonia, which ended with small constructions. It is believed that based on creating rivalry to make these buildings taller, what are known today as castells or castles appear.
The buildings are counted according to the width (the number of people on each floor) and the height (the number of people on top of each other) taking into account that the pineapple (the base of the castle) and the children who climb alone towards the top (acotxador and enxaneta) count as separate floors. When a colla manages to raise six-story castles, it is considered that it already has enough level to be current in the plaza and the best "colles" build nine-story buildings, and at specific times up to ten stories.
The fet casteller is characterized by the union of many generations with a single objective, to be in a place where everyone can have a role, as it is an activity that equally unites common sense and madness.
Agriculture and castellera rivalry in Valls
For 55 years, the city center of Valls has been hosting the Firagost, an exhibition and sale point for articles related to the countryside and traditional objects in the area: wines, cavas, nuts, handicrafts, agricultural machinery, animals... On Wednesday In the afternoon of August 5, in the middle of this stage, a casteller meeting is held with the two colles of the city, the Colla Jova Xiquets de Valls with a red shirt, and the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls with a pink shirt.
The fact that a city of 24,000 inhabitants has two centuries-old colles castelleres and located in front of the castle classification, raising castles of up to nine and ten floors, is a unique fact. The rivalry between the two groups is very palpable in the performances where they face each other and in their city, a show that we invite you to see live in the capital of Alt Camp.
The Mother of God of August in La Bisbal del Penedès
On August 15, La Madre de Dios de Agosto, is a holiday in all of Spain and Fiesta Mayor in La Bisbal del Penedès, a small town of 2,500 inhabitants that sees its population multiply on the occasion of a casteller meeting. There, three of the best colles in the world of Castilians meet, each moving around three hundred people and a large number of audiences from all over Catalonia.
Sant Magí fills the city of Tarragona with color
A few days later we moved to Tarragona, where every August 19 the four colles of the city meet to celebrate La Diada Castellera de Sant Magí. The Xiquets de Tarragona with a grated red and white shirt, the Jove Xiquets de Tarragona with a purple shirt, the Xiquets del Serrallo with a blue shirt, and the Castellers de Sant Pere and Sant Pau with a green shirt, fill the Plaça de les Cols with colors and life under an imposing August sun.
The rivalry of the performance takes place between the first two colles Xiquets de Tarragona and the Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, since both are located among the ten best colles in the Castilian world, raising constructions of between eight and nine floors, and thus guaranteeing a great show. The other two hills, that of Serrallo and that of Sant Pere and Sant Pau (two neighborhoods of Tarragona ) are at the bottom of the classification, building castles of six floors and on occasion of seven.
Arboç a small colla among the largest
The city of l'Arboç has been the site of great performances throughout history, although the population has not always had colla. The city colla, els Minyons de l ' Arboç with a red shirt, was born in the middle of the last century, in 1958; but it was inactive for almost thirty years, from 1974 to 2003, when, based on celebrating great diades in the town square, the arbocencs took up the colla to take it to make eight-story castles.
On August 23, the day in which the most outstanding castellera performance is celebrated, with the local colla and three large colles invited, there is also another well-known traditional festival, the wheelbarrow. It is a fire show where for about thirty minutes and without any pause, a corner of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de l'Arboç is filled with fire.
Sant Fèlix, the Castilian dyad par excellence
We cannot speak of castles and performances in the month of August without ending the great event of the season, the Diada de Sant Fèlix in Vilafranca, on August 30.
It is a square where under the imposing sun and in the midst of the crowd that gathers there, the most spectacular performance of the season takes place. In this square the four best colles of the casteller ranking, Castellers de Vilafranca, Colla Vella Xiquets de Valls, Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls and els Minyons de Terrassa with a mauve shirt, meet to try to download their best buildings, it is one day on that it is allowed to risk a little to win the place.
This performance is held in Vilafranca within the framework of one of the biggest festivals in Castellón, since the city has two colles, the Castellers de Vilafranca, and one of the smallest, Xicots de Vilafranca with a red shirt, and which almost all holidays, so if you want to see Castells, do not hesitate to visit this city.