This quintessential festivity, celebrated the Catholic world over, is given an unusual twist in Tarragona; since the fourteenth century a procession, which includes giant statues, takes place along its medieval streets. Amongst these statues are ‘el negrito’ and ‘la negrita’, two figures depicting a black man and a black woman holding a parrot, reinstated in the 1850’s after a mention was discovered describing their inclusion in the processions held in the middle ages. These ancient figures are permanently exhibited at the house of festival in Tarragona.
At the heart of the Corpus Christi celebration is the Cathedral, currently being restored, where mass is held amongst the singing of choirs and incense smoke. The cloister and inner garden are open to the public and the central fountain is decorated with the ‘ou com balla’, a unique Catalonian addition, litteraly ‘ a dancing egg’ simbolically placed on the spout of the fountain.
The solemn church service is followed by the people’s procession which includes all the great dignitaries of Tarragona, from the town’s major to the bishop, moving down in to the winding streets ast the sound of church bells.