In Catalonia, tradition becomes fire. The streets and the main squares of every town become, on their biggest festivities, in hell, where devils and she-devils dance to the rhythm of the drums.
In Catalonia, fire is tradition. Since the XII Century the balls de diables (devils’ ball) provided the entertainment for the nobility’s meals and the streets of the offspring.
Conceived as theater performances that depicted the fight between good and evil at Corpus festivities and other ecclesiastical celebrations, they have evolved until becoming the current correfocs (fire-runs) in which the audience goes with the devils dancing under the fire.
The devils are the fire bearers with some kind of sparklers hanging on their pitchforks, an old tool with a long handle used for agriculture. During the correfocs, the devils run and jump cheering to the people to take part in the party by joining the dance.
The devils are accompanied by a group of percussionists. Traditionally, these groups used wooden drums and played tribal rhythms. The fusion and the mixture of cultures transform these rhythms mixing them with Brazilian melodies. The timbalers (drummers) brighten the correfoc up encouraging the audience to dance and jump.
The popular bestiary also takes part in the correfocs. Big beasts who play mythological characters from the festive and cultural traditions. Dragons, mammoths, carps or goats accompany the devils throwing fire through their mouths and/or from their tails.
Now that you know a little bit more about one of the most important traditions of the Catalan popular culture, if you visit Catalonia don’t hesitate in participating in the celebration. You only need to cover yourself with cotton clothes (jeans and a denim jacket will do), a cotton or a straw hat to cover your head, a headscarf if you are not used to the smoke from the __correfocs___, and comfortable shoes, so you can jump and dance as long as you can!