As part of what is officially known as Fiesta de Sant Joan, the Cercavila de Foc (the Ball of Fire) is a astonishing event that takes place every year at the weekend of Summer Solstice. It follows from the lighting of the beacon, the Rebuda de Foc, at the Serrallo at sunset celebrating the arrival of Summer which sets the central team of the battle of darkness and light.
Last night’s Cercavila de Foc started off at 23.00 hrs at Plaça de la Font which was filled with people gathered to eat, celebrate football (Spain had just gone through the semi finals), and busy with their kids setting off fireworks and petards. The Ball de Diable and la Colla de Diables Voramar which had earlier lit the beacon at the Serrallo, slowly gathered in the square, carrying totemic figures which seem to have been resurrected from a place lost in time: the bull, the dragon and the víbria, the brested dragon.
Then, at the sound of drums, a portal opened in to a parallel universe in which they all run in to leaving the 21st century behind.
Those who followed this anarchic procession in to the streets and squares of medieval Tarragona ended up pinned against the walls of ancient buildings, the air thick of smoke, trying to shelter from the burning shower of sparks . Despite the ear shuttering noise of petards thrown at close range, one was drawn towards the fire play set in perpetual motion of dancers interchanging with new ones as soon as their fireworks would die out. It gave the illusion that the diables had multiplied and that instead of a hundred you were looking at thousand of them.
The square at the foot of the stairs to the Cathedral became an open stage where each formation stopped for a gran display the most spectacular of which was provided by the Ball de Diable with a two layer human base which exploded in a shower light as if hell had opened under their feet. After this the procession headed down Carrer Major, the main artery of the ancient city breaking in to a last exhilarating and unforgettable run.