Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Gegants i Capgrossos (Giants and Bigheads)

Many Catalan festivals include costumed figures known as gegants i capgrossos (gigantes y cabezudos in Spanish).  The main feature of these figures is their giant papier maché head.  

The giants are hollow figures several metres tall, the body is built around a wooden a-frame which sits on the wearer's shoulders.  The frame is hidden by cloth, and the arms have no structural element to allow them to swing in the air, the hands and head are made from papier-mache.

Every group in the parade will have a couple of giants who will dance to the sounds of the accompanying band.  Their entourage will try and get the spectators to join in.  Some groups will hand out sweets too.

There will be at least a couple of the giants who will have a recognisable link to the town, such as a founder or well known person.

Each year, a city in Catalonia is selected to be the City of Giants, in 2013 it was Calella.

On the 11th May 2013, the Giants all congregated along the walkway next to the beach in Calella for a celebration.  Some looked professionally made, some, particularly the smaller Cabezudos were clearly home made, generally by a school or a children's club, the children themselves carried these and they looked so proud.




The next day, Sunday, was the main parade

It wove around Calella, lots of noise, lots of colour, lots of sweaty people appearing from beneath the giants, there were plenty of stops to allow people to rest or swap over.

It was a fantastic sight and I would love to see it again.

The city for 2014 is Cervera.

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