When I am in Sant Nicolau I usually go shopping in the Spar in Borrassà as they are so well stocked but especially as they are always friendly. Last week I went there with one of my sisters who was visiting from the UK and was surprised to find the central square blocked off to traffic. What could be going on in this normally quiet and deserted village?
There was a meeting of giants from around the region!
These are called Gegants in Catalan and are a familiar feature of local festivals. The smaller figures with large heads are called Cap Grosses
They are usually accompanied by little bands of musicians and large crowds come out to look at them
I think some of the faces are based on real people from the villages but I don’t know if they ever make caricatures of famous people or politicians. Most of the ones I have seen are wearing medieval dress and there is always a king and queen
I have to admit that although it is interesting to see them there is something very alien about them to me. It always reminds me strongly that I am a stranger here. I feel I must be missing something as I don’t understand what they mean to the people who are clearly passionate about them. There are three very Catalan traditions which are very important to the local communities – Gegants, Human towers and dancing the Sardana. Although I am watching from the outside I do get a thrill watching the towers, and although the sardana is a subtle and minimalist dance it also is quite moving to watch and to hear the music. But the gegants – I just don’t get it.
Would be good to have someone explain them to me.