Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day three


The third day. the first Monday of Santa Tecla rolls in quietly.  Everything seems normal till 5 pm when the old town wakes up to the clamor of  hundreds of revelers singing the Amparito Roca anthem. It’s the Cerca Birra crowd on a beer hopping mission accompanied by their own bespoke  brass band.

In the gardens of the Teatre Metropol something much quieter takes place; it´s the presentation of the children version of the Ball de Cossis (the Ball de Cossis Petit). The Ball de Cossis is an enigmatic group with their elongated hats  and lower leggings covered in bells. Their presence in Tarragona goes back to 1804 but the origin goes back to the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The Ball de Cossis Petit will join the children´s version of the procession (cercavila) of Santa Tecla this Thursday starting at 7 pm.

By the time the presentation is over there is just enough time left to run back across the Rambla in to the old city in time to see the first group of the Ball de Diables taking off in Carrer de la Nau. Like  an even darker version of the piper of Hamelin people run towards the dancing devils only to be pushed back by the shower of spark. It´s a hypnotic spectacles celebrating the 30 years of the resurrection of the Ball de Diables de Tarragona.  It was at the Carrer de la Nau back in 1983 that the first of the renewed Ball de Diables took place which is why, tonight, there are four groups. four different outfits, and four generations taking part.  It´s a true celebrations of their history and faultlessly executed.

With the ears still humming and acrid smoke lingering in ones clothes it´s a quick dash to Plaça de la Font where the Nit de dansa amb L’Esbart Santa Tecla has already started. A beautifully choreographed  piece by Jaume Guash Pujolà built around the themes of water, light, sand and sunshine. It’s a shame that we don´t get to see these more often since the music aspect during Santa Tecla  is generally dominated by Catalan Rock, rumba (great in their own right) and DJ´s pumping out predictable stuff.

Time to leave the ballet and head up to Pla de less Colls  which has been transformed in to an impromptu open cinema. Projected on the large canvas is La Teta I la Lluna  (the Tit and the Moon) by the great film director Bigas  Lluna which sadly died this year. It´s a poetic, sad, uplifting surreal tale, with Fellinian undertones and filmed locally.

There is one final applause as the credit roll, a last goodbye from Tarragona to a wonderful Catalan artist.

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