Monalia's World

Observations on a New Life in Spain

Skip to: Content | Sidebar | Footer

Another dull night at home in Barcelona

29 May, 2008 (10:11) | Living in Europe | By: admin

One night we were watching my favorite Cátalan TV channel (there are 2). I like TV3 because the station appears to have a big budget. Their documentaries on art, on Barcelona history, on local culture etc. look well funded, unlike the mainstream Channel 1 (in Castillian Spanish rather than Càtalan) which is a Madrid bases channel and has no money behind it at all.

I am learning to speak Cátalan through TV3, am presently able to understand it almost perfectly. I love the TV3 news because it is all centered around Catalonia, with an emphasis on local Barcelona events.

Mark and I were in our raggedy house clothes, relaxing on the couch watching the Cátalan TV3 news, commenting on the footage they were showing of bonfires and devils spitting fire, when we suddenly realized the action was taking place right here in Gracia in a Plaça about 4 blocks from our house! Wow! Looks exciting! … We threw on our street clothes and headed to Plaça Virreina. As soon as we stepped onto the street we could feel the buzz in the air, with families with little kids scurrying towards the action. We could hear marching drums getting louder and louder until we overcame the parade heading towards Plaça Virreina. The parade was extremely chaotic yet well organized, with people setting off fireworks at the back end. We took a shortcut in order to bypass the noisy confusion and were rewarded at Plaça Reina, for we made it there just in time for the action. There was already a huge bonfire going in front of the church at the plaça.

A posse of fire spitting devils enters the plaça, dispersing people by shooting sparks out of their pitch-forks, followed by a big dragon spitting fire from his mouth and his claws. Then a lizard monster. elderly people lined up against the outskirts of the plaça to watch the events without getting hurt. Younger people danced in the flames, the smarter ones waring boxes over their heads in order no to get accidently burned. Giant puppet people watched in the crowd. The drum parade ends at the plaça. More devils, with spears and swinging firey balls around wreak havok. I took lots of photos, staying safe somehow yet tying to jump into the action. I got slightly singed by a fire dragon, but it all proved worth is as my photos came out fabulous.

We found out the celebration was in honor of San Antoni. Oh, of course, San Antoni, we should have known that. We wandered over to the next Plaça (Diamante) to find several bonfires, with grills on them. People stood around, tending their meat which they brought with them, It was a big “graellada”, or public barbecue. Had we known we would have come equipped. I asked a passerby what the occasion signified and was informed it had something to do with Mallorca.