Patum de Berga

Patum of Berga
Patum de Berga
Country Catalunya
Reference 00156
Inscription history
Inscription 2008
List Representative

The Patum de Berga (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈtum də ˈβɛɾɣə]), or simply La Patum, is a popular and traditional festival that is celebrated each year in the Catalan city of Berga (Barcelona) during Corpus Christi. It consists of a series of "dances" (in catalan, balls) by townspeople dressed as mystical and symbolical figures, and accompanied either by the rhythm of a drum—the tabal, whose sound gives the festival its name—or band music. The balls are marked by their solemnity and their ample use of fire and pyrotechnics.

It was declared a Traditional Festival of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1983, and as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.[1]

Balls [ edit ]

  • Els Plens. Documented since 1628.[2]
  • Els Turcs i Cavallets (Turks and Little Knights). Documented since 1828.
  • Les Maces. Documented since 1628.
  • Les Guites (Folkloric "mules"). Documented since 1626 (Guita Grossa), 1890 (Guita boja).
  • L'Àliga (The Eagle). Documented since 1756.
  • Els Nans Vells (The Old Dwarfs). Documented since 1853.
  • Els Gegants (The Giants). Documented since 1695.[3]
  • Els Nans Nous (The New Dwarfs). Documented since 1890.

Origins and significance [ edit ]

"La Patum" has its origins in pre-Christian celebrations of the Summer solstice, which were recycled and given new symbolism by the Catholic Church as part of its Corpus celebrations. In Berga, the earliest conserved reference to a Corpus procession is May 20, 1454[1]. The festival evolved and incorporated more elements popular and religious theater in the Middle Ages, leading to a unique combination of giants, devils, angels, moors, and other bizarre-looking characters.

Despite the religious significance of Corpus Christi, and the Patum's descent from "eucharistic performances," in its present form it is rather a show of popular theater. It is unique in Catalonia. Anthropologists and specialists in folklore have been interested in La Patum.

Bruce Springsteen song [ edit ]

In 2016, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the "old giants" (Gegants vells) and the 125th anniversary of the "new giants" (Gegants nous), the Bruce Springsteen song If I should fall behind, arranged by Sergi Cuenca, was danced by both couples of giants.[4][5]

Gallery [ edit ]

See also [ edit ]

Bibliography [ edit ]

  • Noyes, Dorothy (2003). Fire in the plaça : Catalan festival politics after Franco. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1849-7.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ info at
  2. ^ Felipó i Oriol, Ramon; Forner, Climent (2005). La Patum: el Corpus Christi de Berga. Edicions El Mèdol. ISBN 8496294145.
  3. ^ Fernández Durán, Juan Antonio (2008). World heritage monuments in Spain. Alymar.
  4. ^ "Vídeo: L'espectacular ball de gegants de la Patum amb música de Bruce Springsteen | VilaWeb". 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  5. ^ "Els Gegants De La Patum Ballen Al So De Bruce Springsteen". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-12-03.

External links [ edit ]

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