Castellars de Vilafranca

Posted in Europe | August 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

If you happen to be in Catalonia, Spain, anytime in the summer, try to attend a display by the Castellars de Vilafranca. This is a group of Catalans with a penchant for forming human pyramids of frightening proportions.

As a spectator sport, the activity is no less than a great circus. Catalonia is famous for having an obsession with the sport right since the 17th century. There was a Valencian dance known as the Ball de Valencians, which involved a small number of dancers balancing on top of each others’ shoulders.

The dance gradually evolved into the popular sport that has people making human pyramids as large as buildings. For the group Castellars de Villafrance, ten floors of people in a human pyramid is a child’s play.

Tarragona and Penedes were the areas where building human castles got the most popular. Two famous rival groups existed in these areas for the sport. These groups contained mostly craftsmen and farmers of the region. These two groups were actually from where the Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls and Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls are formed.

In the last two decades or so, the sport of building human pyramids has evolved into a hugely popular spectator activity. It is a major phenomenon related to culture, and there are a huge number of groups everywhere in Catalonia, and in other areas of the country, the Balearic Islands for one.

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