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Santa Tecla diary – day 9, part 2

The Dragon descending - Night of Santa Tecla

We are nearing the end of this enormous celebration which still continues with a superhuman effort. On the Rambla, this afternoon, one is greeted by the sight of something completely different: competitive cycling racing around the perimeter of the Rambla. Tarragona blog is too dazed to work out who is winning what and we continue up the hill to Plaça de la Font. A café is selling Mamadeta cupcakes which beam at us from a bright blue tray – Alice in Wonderland would have relished these.

But the crowds are surging upwards and we join the human river in to a large group of Xiquetts singing the Amparito Roca theme at the top of their voice.

At the Cathedral a group of loud protesters has taken centre stage with cardboard placards accusing the local town hall of corruption and nepotism – at the arrival of major Balestreros and dignitaries a concert of whistles and boos rises from the crowd.

Then, for the very last time, the procession starts. There is a little bit of sadness in the air as the bestiary, giant, dwarves and dancers of the Seguici Popular appear in the dimming light of the day, all for one last evening; against the magnificent stonework of the square of the Cathedral they all look more beautiful than ever. The Braç de Santa Tecla, this holy relict on which the whole festival is based, joins the procession in its silver case – a strange and solemn moment and the square, just for a second, falls still and they are gone.

Fireworks at the Cathedral - night of Santa Tecla

We wait with the building crowds in to the night and then with flashes of light the Diables, Vibria, Ox and Dragon return to the square. It’s an electrifying moment when the countdown begins and then the fireworks start Behind the Cathedral and when the last flare of light has died the Diables, Vibria Ox and Dragon explode in a shower of light. The Santa Tecla band plays like demon and a river of light starts its descent from the steps of the Cathedral. It is the most astonishing moment, as if hell had opened. The air so thick with red smoke you can only see a few metres in the abyss and front of us is the dragon, gleaming malevolently and ready to unleash its might. There are thousands of people pushing, screaming, singing together, rising their fist to the sky and breaking out in spontaneous clapping. The Santa Tecla river of light breaks free from all boundaries, we all push each other and the liberating march towards Plaça de la Font begins with Amparito Roca steering the way and closing the day of Santa Tecla with gusto!

Fireworks on the beach at the night of Santa Tecla

But it wasn’t entirely over yet – we run down to Miracle Beach in time to see the fireworks rise in to the sky. Unforgettable.

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