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Santa Tecla

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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.

Correfoc of Santa Tecla

Correfoc of Santa Tecla

The closing act of Santa Tecla is the correfoc,  with devils and dragons and the firework finale!

Castles, towers and pillars

Castles, towers and pillars

Human towers and walking pillars for the last day of Santa Tecla. 

The Day of Santa Tecla

The Day of Santa Tecla

The day of Santa Tecla begins at 7 in the morning with the toc de matinades a solemn tune played by the grallers and aimed at getting everyone out of bed. 

El Mercat de Santa Teca

El Mercat de Santa Teca

During the ten days celebration that is Santa Tecla several gastronomic hot points spring up around the city. The most notable and best of all is Santa Teca a mini gastro and musical feast which delivers local top quality produce in true indie style.

The Cercavila de Santa Tecla

The Cercavila de Santa Tecla

It’s one thing to see one of the most iconic events of Santa Tecla parading down the streets of the old city and  other to see it from the inside of a shop.

A celebration of fire

A celebration of fire

Santa Tecla is home to traditions and mayhem, the latter provided by the our Diables which gets  better every year! 

The night of the dragons

The night of the dragons

Last night Tarragona became an incubator of dragons which marched through the streets of the old city enveloped by terrifying light.

Santa Tecla 2014 – day 3

Santa Tecla 2014 – day 3

There is gentler side to the Santa Tecla festivities in Tarragona which is provided by an evening of Catalan folk dance re-enactments at  Plaça de la Font.

Santa Tecla 2014 – day 2

Santa Tecla 2014 – day 2

Santa Tecla in Tarragona has a very hedonistic side which culminates with the Baixada del Àliga which this year runs on the 21st.  As a prelude to this we have a new contender, the Cercabirra de Tarragona.

Santa Tecla 2014 – day 1

Santa Tecla 2014 – day 1


Santa Tecla 2014 is finally on the way and the first day saw a display of four groups of human towers followed by the “crida” the official inauguration which went off with a bang!

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day eleven


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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day ten

Santa Tecla in  Tarragona

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 diary 2013 – day nine


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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day eight


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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day seven


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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day six

Santa Tecla Tarragona modern dance

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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day five


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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day four


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.

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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day two


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.

Santa Tecla diary 2013 – day one


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.

Santa Tecla diary – day 10, Walking Pillars and Correfoc

Correfoc at Santa Tecla Tarragona

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.

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.

Santa Tecla diary – day 9, part 1

Day of Santa Tecla morning parade

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.

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.

Santa Tecla diary – day 7, part2

Santa Tecla, the Fall of the Retinue

The night of the Friday sees an event which is known as the Fall of the Retinue and Bands, basically informal chaos.

Santa Tecla diary – day 7, part1

Chartreuse and Cigars at Santa Tecla

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.

Santa Tecla diary – day 6

Santa Tecla, Tarragona - children's correfoc

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.

Santa Tecla diary – day 5

The children's version of Santa Tecla, Tarragona

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.

Santa Tecla highlight – Human Towers

Castellers at Santa Tecla

The main Human Towers display of the Santa Tecla festivities takes place the first Sunday in a square crammed with spectators.

Santa Tecla diary – day 4

La Baixadeta, Santa Tecla Tarragona

In another endearing collusion of events at Santa Tecla where La Baixadeta met with Slow Food Tarragona, same old quarter, different squares.

Santa Tecla highlight – Mulasses de Festa

Santa Tecla highlight – Mulasses de Festa

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.

Santa Tecla diary – day3

The Vibria of Santa Tecla

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.

Santa Tecla highlight – Mamadeta

Santa Tecla highlight – Mamadeta

Chartreuse is to Tarragona what Whiskey is to Scotland and since it’s a rather potent concoction devised by Chartusian monks in the 1740’s – at some point in history someone had the bright idea to create lemonade slush to it: thus the Mamadeta was born!

Santa Tecla highlight – Official Opening

Santa Tecla highlight – Official Opening

Part of a medieval tradition dictates that the Cobla de Ministrers of the Municipal Council, perched the balcony of the Town Council, performs the “toc de crida” or the welcome call to the festivity which celebrates Tarragona’s patron Santa Tecla. They overlook Placa de la Font filled with thousand of revelers and which, for the occasion, looked as if mined with anti raid missiles ready to take to the sky.

Santa Tecla diary – day 2

Santa Tecla diary – day 2

Day two and the sun burned through the coolness air of the morning, revealing a blazing hot day. The first Sunday of Santa Tecla is much slower to the senses which are still recovering from the previous night. Breakfast (or brunch, depending how awake you are) is a classic Santa Tecla stable called espineta amb cargolins, a local harty stew made of potatoes, snails and tuna fish – all the best restaurateurs of the Part Alta are involved and are offering 25 different variations of the dish so  you know it’s going to be interesting.

Santa Tecla diary – day 1

Santa Tecla diary – day 1

Please forgive the hurried tone of these notes. It’s 01.30 in the morning and Tarragona is still filled with the sound of voices, music, clapping,  intoxicating echoes that bounce from walls to sea. So much is happening that there is barely time to sleep.

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