Castell (human tower) performance in Barcelona, Spain

If you have ever been to Catalonia, you probably know that Catalan people are very proud of their cultural heritage and that’s not without reason. Along with other unique cultural traditions, festivals and celebrations, castell (human tower) is a spectacle definitely worth watching. It will leave you speechless, I can guarantee it.

Castell - Castellers de la Sagrada Familia - Portal del Ángel, barcelona, Spain (27)

Castell is a street performance during which members of the team form a tower by climbing onto each other’s shoulders. There are many variations of these human towers and the highest can reach up to as many as 10 levels (about 14 metres off the ground)!!!

It’s truly breathtaking! Just imagine trying to stand still on your friend’s shoulders, who is also standing on somebody’s shoulders, while at the same time trying to hold the person standing on top of you! Not only does it need great acrobatic skills, but it also requires the highest levels of concentration and team responsibility.

Castell - Castellers de la Sagrada Familia - Portal del Ángel, barcelona, Spain (25)

It’s a very gripping spectacle during which you will keep your fingers crossed and pray the wobbly tower of people doesn’t fall right before your eyes.

Facts and background:

  • The tradition of building human towers started in the town of Valls, near Tarragona, at the end of 18th century.
  •  The castell is considered successful when all the members manage to climb onto their designated positions and the enxaneta (the topmost person, usually a child) raises their hand with four fingers erect, which is a gesture symbolising the stripes of the Catalan flag.
  • Apart from the regular climbers, who form the upper parts of the tower, there are others who create a so-called pinya – the bottom base of the castell. Its function is to sustain the tower’s weight as well as play the role of a cushion in case the tower collapses.
  • Traditionally all castellers wear white trousers, a black sash, a bandana and a coloured shirt representing the team they belong to.
  • The sash (faixa) is the most important part of their attire, as not only is it used by the castellers as a hand- or a  foothold while climbing up the tower, but it also supports the lower part of their backs and prevents injuries.
  • The motto of castellers is “Força, equilibri, valor i seny” (Strength, balance, courage and common sense).
  • In 2010 castells were declared a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Castell - Castellers de la Sagrada Familia - Portal del Ángel, barcelona, Spain (23)

Where to see them?

Castellers, giants (another traditional Catalan show) and falconers will perform in Barcelona, from now on  throughout the summer, every Saturday.

Check out the details:

18/05 – Av. catedral
Castellers de Sants
Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia
Gigantes Coordinadora de Gigantes de Barcelona

25/05 – Pla de la Seu
Falcons de Barcelona
Falcons de Capellades
Gigantes de Santiago

08/06 – Av. catedral
Castellers de la Sagrada Familia
Castellers de Rubí
Falcons de Barcelona

15/06 – Av. catedral
Castellers de Barcelona
Castellers de Berga
Esbart Renaixença
Bastoners de Poble Sec

16/06 – Pla de la Seu
Haciendo país. 60 aniversario de Ballets de Cataluña

29/06 – Av. catedral
Castellers del Poble Sec
Colla Jove de Hospitalet
Esbart Santa Eulalia
Bastoners del Raval

06/07 – Av. catedral
Castellers de Barcelona
Castellers de Lleida
Gigantes del Raval

13/07 – Av. catedral
Colla Jove de Barcelona
Castellers de Sant Feliu
Esbart Catalán de Danzantes
Cuerpo de Bastoners

20/07 – Pla de la Seu
Ballets de Cataluña

27/07 – Av. catedral
Castellers de Barcelona
Castellers de Cornellà
Gigantes de San Pedro

10/08 – Av. catedral
Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia
Castellers de Castelldefels
Gigantes pequeños del Pi

17/08 – Plaza Nueva
Falcons de Barcelona
Baile de bastones de Sitges
Moixiganga de Valls
Gigantes de la pl. nueva

31/08 – Av. catedral
Colla Jove de Barcelona
Castellers de Viladecans
Colla Sardanista Mare Nostrum

written by: Ania

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5 comments

  • I would not like to be the guy on the bottom!

  • hi,
    nice post, but in the list at the end there are some mistakes! “bastoneros” is a really strange translation to “bastoners” and “bandada” for “esbart”!!! first because it’s the club name and this kinds of name are not usually translate, but If you want to translater “esbart” could be “agrupación” or “grupo” (bandada is used for birds, for exemple not for peeople), and “bastoneros” is a catañol not spanish neither catalan. “Halcones” is “falcons” for the same reason…and the “grupo joven de barcelona” i supposed is “colla jove de barcelona” :-)