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Correfoc! [ Tuesday, 03 Jul 07 | 01:05 ]
ursine1
[Tags|, , , ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |energeticenergetic]

Correfoc or “fire run” is a traditional festive event in Catalunya and the nearby “Països Catalans”. "Devils" play with fire and with the people. These devils are not the incarnation of evil; they are sprightly and festive, dancing to the sound of drums, while they set off their fireworks.

El Masnou has been holding correfocs for more than 25 years, after the end of el franquismo (the Franco era). There are actually two correfocs, one for infantiles, and the other called “gran”. These are just one of the many events for the town’s festa major (“big party”) held around dia de Sant Pere (St. Peter’s Day).

Although Ruben is natural de Catalunya, he had never attended a correfoc. So Saturday night we decided to go to the starting place for the gran correfoc which was only about 200 meters from where I live in yet another new park.


A group of “devils”.

Previously I thought that the “devils” were primarily young people who dressed up and terrorized people without bringing the policia down on themselves. I was surprised to see a number of middle-aged women appearing in costume.


Another group of “devils”.

Likewise, the band of drummers had more women than men. And there were two drum leaders: one male and the other female.


The band that follows the devils during the “run”.

There was a brief warm up act with devils and angels and after a few more skyrockets the show was on the road. This year the route snaked all the way across town.


Part of the “warm up”.

There were a few police around, but they seemed to just be directing traffic. And of course an ambulance brought up the rear.


Fireworks are placed overhead on at various points on the route.

Earlier during the day we saw the “parade of giants”, in which a number of nearby communities participated. Each set of figures had their own band replete with ancient reed instruments that are in the shawm family.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cuboz
Tuesday, 03 Jul 07 | 11:23 (UTC)
Those are the sort of cultural festivities I used to love and enjoy when I lived in Japan...

The vibrancy and noise - the celebrating.... You must be loving it over there at times like this!

xxxx
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 03 Jul 07 | 13:33 (UTC)
The festa major ran for several days and there was something for everyone. When I went to Pamplona last July with my son for the encierros, I was surprised how whole families turned out for the events. The Sanfermines aren't just for tourists, but for locals.

I live in a small town of 20,000 and everything was planned for people who live there. One difference with the US is that the police are mainly used for traffic control rather than crowd control.

I attended the gay pride parade in Madrid several years ago and was surprised that they didn't have barricades along the street as they do in SF. Also, I rode on the Mad.Bear truck that had a DJ and sound system. Straight couples would come aboard and dance for a while and then get off. In Spain it's just another party and people don't seem so inhibited in joining in the fun.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: cuboz
Wednesday, 04 Jul 07 | 09:07 (UTC)
That IS surprising that they don't have barricades along the street to control the crowd. How on EARTH do they keep things running smoothly then?

When Sydney's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is run in early March, they HAVE to have barricades along the entire Parade route - mind you, when you're dealing with spectator crowds up to 750,000 people (!!!), then you need to have some sort of measures in place, I suppose!
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 04 Jul 07 | 15:44 (UTC)
This year's EuroPride was held last weekend in Madrid with an expected crowd of 2 million (though I doubt it was that large.) Gay events don't seem to run smoothly regardless of the crowd control employed.

Not having barricades allows more people to participate and helps reduce the "we/them" barrier. I've seen the "victory" parades for Barça when the won the league championship here and they didn't use barricades for those either.

Two years ago when Spain passed their same-sex marriage law, the government made sure it was published immediately in the official government bulletin. (Laws aren't effective until they are published.) So the Madrid gay pride event really had something to celebrate since the law was published the day before the parade.

Chuck
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