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Catalan folklore

Barcelona’s Festival Activities Centers

Barcelona’s Festival Activities Centers
Written by Paula

A city that is extremely rich in culture, Barcelona has a variety of Festival Activities Centers, places where visitors can go to in order to get familiar with popular culture and local traditions.

These centers are normally used by groups that take part in local cultural events and activities like those who dance Sardana or Bastonets and those who form Castellets. There are several centers exhibiting different pieces used in traditional events, such as Gegants, and Cap-Grossos.

Not familiar with these traditions and characters? Here is a quick look at some of the most famous ones:

La Sardana

barcelonaThe Sardana is one of Catalonia’s traditional dances, in which people hold hands, elevate their arms and perform a couple of movements with their feet. To perform the Sardana, people have to form a circle. Anyone can join a Sardana circle in motion. When the circle becomes too big, smaller circles start forming.

The Sardana can be seen in almost any traditional Catalan event, like Sant Joan in June, and La Mercé, in September.


Another traditional Catalan dance is the Bastonets. The bastoners are usually groups of 8 to 24 people, each of them holding a thick piece of wood in each hand. The music plays and the bastoners walk and jump, while knocking the bastons against each other in a rhythmic manner.

Related article: Enjoy Barcelona Withlocals


Castellets are basically human towers. The stronger people form the bottom of the tower, gathered in a circle, placing their arms on top of the people standing next to them. The next group of people climb on their shoulders, and the next ones on top of the second group’s shoulders and so on, until there is only one person standing on top, usually a child.

The Castellets can usually be observed on Sant Jordi’s day, on April 23rd, during Sant Joan, and a variety of Catalan festivals.

Gegants and Cap Grossos

Gegants or Giants are tall papier-mache figures that represent kings, queens, bourgeois people and peasants. These figures are featured in parades at several of the Catalan festivals, dancing back and forth to the sound of traditional music.

barcelonaCap Grossos or Big Heads are human-scale figures that feature huge carton-pierre heads. The heads are usually worn by people who dress in matching costumes, dancing and chasing after people.

The core function of the Festival Activities Centers is to organize activities related to the Catalan popular culture and its traditions. The groups meet at the centers to organize, discuss, rehearse and store costumes and accessories used during events.

The Festival Activities Centers network is composed by a total of 14 locations like Centre d’Imatgeria Festiva de Sant Martí – Can Saladrigas, located inside Poblenou’s library, and La Casa dels Entremesos, in the Gothic neighborhood.

About the author


Paula is an experienced content writer, translator and editor.

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