Santa Tecla is Tarragona’s paramount patron saint and the ten days celebration is a display of all things Tarragona: parades, human castles, pyrotechnic displays, cultural and musical events, there is something for everyone.
24th of September and the 11th and last day of celebrations for Santa Tecla in Tarragona, a festival with a daily attendance of over eighty thousand people and a committed local involvement.
The day has come: it’s Monday the 23rd, Diada de Santa Tecla, the day of Santa Tecla, patroness of Tarragona, the day when the festival reaches its culmination with the Entrada del Braç de Santa Tecla, the arrival of the Arm of Santa Tecla, in to the square of Tarragona’s cathedral.
Santa Tecla Sunday the 22nd has a late morning start; it´s the Entrada de Músics at Portal Roses, the entry of the musicians, the distinctive bands which will accompany all the individual acts of tonight’s greatly anticipated Cercavila.
The second Saturday of Santa Tecla starts at a gentle pace in Plaça del Rei where thousand queue up for the magic combo of one coffee, a shot of Chartreuse and a cigar, a yearly habit which is known as Cafè, copa i puro per un duro.
Forgive the blur and this hastily written entry. We are now entering the weekend epicenter of Santa Tecla in Tarragona, one in which the saintly and the sacrilege head in to full collision.
Thursday is the day of the Cercavila de la Santa Tecla Petita, the little people edition of the festival where everything is re-enacted in a diminutive size. But there is also a space for the arts with Tarragona´s own dance company Sagardoy/Bravo Plan B performing El Factor Humá at the amphitheater.
The first glimpse of some of the iconic protagonists which will join the parade of the Santa Tecla Petita on Thursday. Today is it´s just a little rendezvous which starts from the top of the stairs leading down from Tarragona’s cathedral in to a Carrer Major packed with thousand of children.
The first Tuesday of Santa Tecla is home to a lovely Slow Food initiative in the old plaça del Rei and a very special meeting for all the children with the Vibria of Tarragona.
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.
The notes of Amparito Roca got entangled in the dreams of last night and it’s a very late wake up. Eyes wide open in to the first Sunday of Santa Tecla embracing human towers, snail stew, gigantic paellas, a Ball de Diables and and one last Amparito Roca to close the day.
Dear reader…like a gigantic stage the heart of Santa Tecla, located in the depth of Tarragona has started beating again, and the beat is getting louder and louder. It starts at 10 am with the sound of drums and and brass band playing the unmistakable notes and secret him of Tarrragona of Amparito Roca by Jaime Teixidor.
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.
We are nearing the end of this enormous celebration which still continues with a superhuman effort.
This Sunday, known as the Day of Santa Tecla, and the sun was napping behind the covers of an unusually overcast day. How long did last night last we don’t know but the general rule of thumb is that you take a four hour snooze and then rise again with a helping of Chartreuse.
Tarragona Blog fatigue is setting in… calves, feet are aching, eyes are blurry and dreams are populated by strange underworldy creatures and flying sparks.
The night of the Friday sees an event which is known as the Fall of the Retinue and Bands, basically informal chaos.
Santa Tecla heady weekend started of with coffe, rivers of Chartreuse and cigars at Placa del Rei – this is a traditional thing to do and a bit of a warm up to get everyone fired up.
This is when the children’s version of Tarragona’s Santa Tecla breaks out in to the type of anarchy that would make the Lord of the Flies proud.
There must be something truly magic in being a child in Tarragona; instead of opening a book of stories before bedtime you become one it’s main character and walk in to labyrinthine alleys filled with dragons, giants and nights of fire.
The main Human Towers display of the Santa Tecla festivities takes place the first Sunday in a square crammed with spectators.
In another endearing collusion of events at Santa Tecla where La Baixadeta met with Slow Food Tarragona, same old quarter, different squares.
The mythical Vibria, this strange creature part woman, part eagle, part snake and part bat descended on to the square of the Cathedral to meet those who love her more, the children of Tarragona.