2023-03-05 – castellers and ball de diables in Mataró

cavallers and lion in Mataró ball de diables

Last Updated on 29 April 2024 by gerry

Hot on the heels of her fantastic hospitality on Saturday, Marta left us with a great tip for Sunday. The Castellers (human tower) season is more or less at its beginning and the Colla Castellera (human tower club) in Mataró had scheduled a presentation of their skills for 10.30 – 13.30 on Sunday 5 March. Mataró is just 3 stops on the R1 railway south from where we are in Arenys, just a 10 minute trip, so we were there for just after 11am, no problem. The castells took place in the Plaça de Santa Anna. After enjoying watching and listening to what the castellers were doing, we rambled off to discover what else was happening in the square as we could hear some drumming and noticed many children and indeed adults in elaborate medieval costumes.

It turned out that we had been lucky to chance upon a “Ball de Diables” procession, which literally means “dance of devils” and is one of the oldest forms of traditional popular cultural expression widespread throughout the Catalan countries. Often seen accompanied by fireworks at Correfocs processions. Here in Mataró we had a lion, many horses, a couple of oxen and a basilisc, all operated with a person inside as the procession moved from Plaça de Santa Anna to the Basilica of Santa Maria. No fire and just a few fireworks at the end, which was an issue of some
grievance we later discovered on Facebook between the Ball de Diables group and the Mataró council.

The memories of Up Helly Aa are fresh in my mind and the organisation of the different elements here in this Ball de Diables reminded me conceptually of the squads in Shetland. Our understanding of what was going on was quite minimal but it was a very enjoyable experience letting this amazing little bonus festival unfold before us.

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