Last month, I had the privelege of participating (somewhat) in a really cool tradition in Catalonia called the Correfoc. It translates literally to “fire run.” Sounds interesting and kind of dangerous, doesn’t it? It’s both, I can assure you!
From what I understand, they do it throughout Catalonia at different points of the year for special festivals. I was able to witness one in Badalona, a city just north of Barcelona, for their Festes de Maig, or May Festival.
Basically, people dress up as demons and carry around pitchfork-looking torches that spray fireworks above their heads. It is incredibly loud, and sparks of fire rain down on everyone around them. They wear protective gear, including goggles, gloves, and hankerchiefs to cover their mouths. Other people who wish to participate also dress similarly, in long pants and hoodies. Sometimes people even drench themselves with a bucket of water to be extra careful. Once ready, they all run in towards the demon people with the fireworks and dance under the raining fire.
Some groups of people go even farther and create these elaborate costumes and contraptions that give off the fireworks, such as giant demons and dragons.
Pretty bad ass, eh?
Well, having never experienced this before, I didn’t dress properly because I figured I wouldn’t be actually going into dance with them. I just wanted to watch. Stupidly, I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts. When the demon people finally arrived bearing their fireworks, they would come in towards the crowd, enjoying watching everyone quickly run away from the sparks. They taunted people, in fact. I thought it wouldn’t be so scary, but it definitely gets your heart pumping!
For hours, they dance through the streets like this. They also have drummers that take part in the parade. At the end of it all, they ended with concerts and parties on the beach. Such a fun tradition! Don’t underestimate Catalonia’s love of parties.