As a prelude to the festival of Sant Magi we have Sant Roc and you can tell something is afoot by the share number of Tarragona flags spun across opposite balconies of the narrow streets of the Part Alta.
Sant Roc starts on the 10th of August, intertwines with the celebrations of Sant Magi, and ends on the 16th with a concert, curtesy of the Fan Fan Show!
What to look out for:
Food and goodies sold on street stalls and a “disco”, the Grand Reuetlla Popular, which starts and midnight and lasts through the night.
At 19.00 is the official opening of the festes de Sant Roc with canons shooting salves in to the sky and scaring off the pigeons.
A diminutive Cercavila takes place at 19.30: a little procession carrying two giants, followed by children draped up as el negrito and la negrita and mini giants walking along the sound of drums and artillery shots around the streets of the old city. More Gran Revetlla Popular at midnight involving dancing to live music and eating through the night.
A Trout Competition…. (no idea what this is but is likely to involve fish and we shall report at due course) which takes place at la Baixada Peixateria and is open to everyone and more dancing and eating at midnight with another Gran Revetlla Popular at the sound of the orchestra of Duo Lluis.
This day has definite gastronomical undertones as we have the All-i-oli competition taking place at 11:00am at the Baixada Peixateria (this is off Placa de la Font towards the remains of the circus) at which everyone who can knock out a serious garlic mayonnaise, catalan style, can participate. The competition comes to its zenith at 14.00 with the Musclada Popular in which all those fine garlic mayonnaises will be served with steamed muscles to all those who care to join in!
…And more midnight merriment with the Gran Revetlla Popular where you can dance your socks off with the Dolce Vita orchestra.
On this public holiday, at 13.00 the Image of Sant Roc will be carried to its rightful chapel with a display of pyrotechnics and music. More processions in the late afternoon at 19.oo in the old city with the Tarragona pantheon of giants, dwarves and bestiary carried around the ancient streets with deafening noise. There will also be a human castle display at 21.00 with the Colla Jove dels Xiquets de Tarragona and the Xiquets de Reus taking part.
This is the actual Day of San Roc which also makes it the most important day of the event. After the artillery has gone off we have the procession with the imagery and sounds which are so much at the heart of every festival here – after a traditional ceremony at the church of Sant Francis ( Esglesia de Sant Francesc) the procession takes off again from the Rambla Vella in to the streets of the the old city. There will be also the ball of the Negritos (these are the two giant statues depicting a black man and woman in 18th century colonial attire) and the Gran Xocolatada (a big chocolate feast) which will take place around the Cos de Bou – which is a bit of the epicentre of all the San Roc festivities.
It will all be over for San Roc at 23.00 with the Fan Fan Show closing the event (and then you can always hop in to the Sant Magi celebrations which will have started the day before!).
You can download the whole program of the festivities here (in Catalan)