The Correfoc is a very popular Catalan and Spanish fire event that is almost an integral part of local festivals in Catalonia, Spain. Relatively a new event, it originated in 1978 at the annual Barcelona Merce Festival, and it has it’s seeds in a medieval street theater called ‘Balls de Diables’ representing the fight of good against evil. For this performance, performers recreate the battle between good and evil by dressing up as devils and brandishing pitchforks with firecrackers attached. They set off fireworks among spectators, who are welcome to interact by chasing and dodging them.
Highly colorful, correfoc can be seen at many local festivals including the ‘Festa Major de Gracia’ held in August and ‘Mefce Festival’ in September. Spanish dictator Franco
banned many aspects of Catalan culture, but after his death this festival came back with a bang.
This festival involves individuals dressed in red and black, wearing horns and masks. There is loud music, firecrackers, roman candles and fire spitting as well. Although it is a great place to be in, it can be a little dangerous and quite frightening for children, animals and the light-hearted. Accidents do occur during this festival, so spectators need to be very careful. People attending the event have to come prepared to protect themselves from fire and loud noise among others.
Each town has its own customs and traditions regarding how the correfoc will be conducted. Usually each town will have its own collection of monstrous creations that appear every year. In larger correfocs, there is usually a central float from which the fireworks are distributed. The ‘Castells’ or human pyramids were declared to be amongst masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO
. It is perhaps one of the most remarkable elements of the cultural displays that take place during La Merce. Everyone – men, women and small children, can form these human pyramids. The pyramids are sometimes 9 or 10 people high.
Although, there is no dress code as such for this event, but it is important to dress right for the occasion. Since these festivals involves a lot of fire, make sure you protect yourself from burns by wearing cotton clothes with long sleeves. It is advisable to wear a scarf or a hat / cap to protect your head. If you intend to participate or stand close to the event, use goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from sparks or debris. Also, it is safer to wear sneakers instead of sandals. Go to www.Beverlyheels.com to find some suitable clothes for this event.