Santa Tecla diary – day 8

Giant from the Santa Tecla Parade

Tarragona Blog fatigue is setting in… calves, feet are aching, eyes are blurry and dreams are populated by strange underworldy creatures and flying sparks.

Day 8 and no better way to wake up than head to Raffa Gelati for some serious ice cream. As a Santa Tecla special Raffa will top your order with a scoop of zesty Mamadeta, its icy sweetness working wonders on a weary blogger.

Mamadeta ice cream at Raffa Gelati in Tarragona

Vermouth plays a big part on this day and where ever you look there are people drinking it and snacking on fries. On the Rambla our local football club, the Nastic de Tarragona, is providing squares of tortilla and vermouth four a couple of euros and the queues are building up.

Vermouth and Tortilla at Santa Tecla

As the afternoon sets in shopkeepers cover their windows with cardboard (those flying sparks are deadly) and crowds begin to line the route of the Santa Tecla parade; how many people can fit in to the old streets of Tarragona? The answer is too many.

At 7pm, announced by the unmistakable whistle and clouds of smoke it’s the arrival of the diables which will never chase to amaze even the most weary of bloggers. There are four groups and, as soon as they reach Santiago Russinyol Square they sparks begin to fly. Local kids jump in to the flames holding on to their singed straw hats and tourists shriek back. The apocalyptic river of smoke, thunder and blinding lights move in from the Carrer Major and display their bravado in the cobbled square – the step to the Cathedral are bursting with spectators. The diables are followed by the Dragon, the Bull and the Vibria, all set alight with sparks their ‘hoves’ pounding the ground at the sound of drums – ave inspiring stuff.

This is followed by the golden Eagle ( L’ Aliga) which holds a white dove in its beak, and the Angry Mule (La Mulassa), fully recovered from her 25th birthday celebration and charging in to the crowds , up and down the steps of the Cathedral. Next are a very dignified Lion and … the Cucafera Dragon! We all love the Cucafera and there was a real outcry this year when rumours were spread that she would not take part this year. The Cucafera is a sweet big thing, bit of a turtle, with the spikes and head of a benign dragon, large and flat and covered in leathery scales. In an attempt to take the limelight from the Mule the Cucafarra charges up and down the steps dislodging as many people as she possibly can. Job done she moves on, her head being padded in appreciation by the children.

Next are the Negrito and Negrita, which are followed by the old Giants and old and new Dwarves beautifully dressed and in full pomp of the occasion. As the parade got stuck on the overcrowded and sticky streets we made a way towards the Rambla; more people made it almost impossible to reach that part of town; we stopped at Placa de la Font in which the sound system was being tested for the night concert and then moved on , again pushing and being pushed. On the Rambla it was all a bit more spread and as the night took over we watched the last of the dance group disappearing and Tarragona gearing up for another night of party.

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