To celebrate the 25th birthday of the Mulassa Tarragonina (Tarragona Mule) a party of 8 fellow Mulassas were brought together last Saturday for the Santa Tecla celebrations. These are strange times to be in Tarragona – things can change from leisurely sipping a cafe solo (that’s a small coffee) to a surreal visions within seconds.
The Mulassa of Tarragona was born in 1734 and after being worn out by too many fireworks was given a face lift twenty years later. She then fell in to obscurity for two hundred years thanks to a decree by an unsympathetic archbishop, but re-born in 1988 (hence the birthday party!). The Mulassa is now officially part of the great zoomorphic pantheon of the Seguici Popular, the Popular Procession that defines the traditional celebrations in Catalonia. She is rather pretty, covered by a rich green velvety mantle embroidered with Tarragonas coat of arms.
Attending the occasion were La Mulassa de Salou, La Mulassa dels Pallaresos, La Mulassa de Falset, La Mulassa de Montblanc, La Mulassa de Valls, Mulassa de Torredembarra, Ruc Garot de l’Arboç, Mulasses de Vilanova, Mulassa de Barcelona, Mulassa de Vic i l’Âne de Bessan d’Occitània (França), parading like stroppy old dames around the busy streets.
Every Mula was dressed in her finest and had an entourage made of keepers and music players. Most were well behaved and did their very best to impress but one got really angry and kept charging in to the line of spectators, bearing her teeth, flearing her nose rills and stomping about – that was one angry mula.
When they reached Pla de Seu, at the foot of the Cathedral, it was time to show off and every Mula did its best to impress by breaking in to a circular dance (with the exception of the angry mule who just kept charging).