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Santa Tecla diary – day 10, Walking Pillars and Correfoc

Correfoc at Santa Tecla Tarragona

The last chapter of Santa Tecla started at noon with the Baixada dets Pilars, the walking pillars, making their way from the steps of the Cathedral to Plaça de la Font in one elegant swoop.

As the oldest colla in Tarragona, it was first the turn of the Xiquets with their red striped shirts; then the Colla Jove, distinguished by their lilac colour, followed by the Xiquets del Serrallo in navy blue, and the Colla de San Pere I Sant Pau, the youngest colla, in green.

Each four layer human castle was followed down the steep curve of Carrer Major by a large group of supporters making it safely in to the main square in an amazing feat of balance and strength.

Walking Pillars at Santa Tecla

As the Colla of Sant Pere I Sant Pau disappeared amongst the crowds there was time for a much needed seven hour rest before getting up again for the last grand encounter of Santa Tecla, the Correfoc, the Fire Run on the Rambla – the time of devils.

They announced their presence long before they came in to view with the sound of drums . Hundreds of kids and adults wearing straw hats and scarves on their face as protection from falling sparks, had gathered near the entry point, ready to jump in to the flames.

So enter the devils, these shadowy figures, straight from the middle Ages and part of the Seguici Popular de Tarragona since 1387.

Correfoc at Santa Tecla, Tarragoan

With the lights of the Rambla switched off the first flares began to fly bouncing off the pavement in to the air. It was the run of fire, running with demons in and out the flames with the thunder of drums, new flares replacing old, new groups of devils overtaking other groups unleashing the dark soul of Tarragona in all its fright for almost two hours.

Afterwards, it all fell still, and for a minute nothing moved until crackling noise grew in to a defining roll of explosions advancing from the far side of the Rambla moving its way towards the edge of the sea. People run through the advancing wall of fire with the devils, other held back in fear , children clung on to their hats for the final explosion. And then came the fireworks, stunning, rising over the Statue of Roger de Lluria and Mediterranean. The end of an epic festival – and in the night sky the words of fire VISCA SANTA TECLA.

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