An introduction to Catalan Castells
Els Castells – a Catalan word that means castles – are a cultural tradition particular to Catalonia. The human towers are formed by Castellers standing on the shoulders of one another in a succession of stages (between six and ten). Each town has it’s own team and are dressed in their own colors. Both visually stunning and seemingly rather dangerous, a meeting of various towns is an exciting occasion.
How a Castell is formed
There are three definite parts to a castle: La pinya (base) is a bunch of strong, big castellers with the arms locked together in a taut circle. They support their teammates as they create level upon level with progressively fewer and lighter people to form el tronc (trunk) which is the central part of the castle made up of some two to five human layers.
The uppermost levels of the tower are known as El pom de de dalt, and comprise young children. The Anxaneta is the tiniest (and bravest!) child that climbs all the way to the very top. Supported by only two people, he or she raises a hand with four fingers to symbolize the Catalan flag.
The cultural importance of Castells
As well as having cultural and symbolic importance for the people of Catalonia, the Castells are considered a demonstration of sporting prowess.
The Castell season runs from April to November, with teams performing regularly at Festa Majors, national celebrations and Catalan competitions.
Read more about Castellers and Catalan Castells here.
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