Castells, my surname and also one of the oldest catalan tradicions

‘Castells’ is my surname. And it’s also one of the oldest traditions of Catalonia. I’m not talking about the castles, of course not. I’m talking about the amazing performance of the Human Towers!

Some are the groups of people who made these big towers in Catalonia. In a lot of towns, small and big. They are called ‘castellers’. And although it’s a competition and it’s important the level of the groups, the first thing is share. Share the moment, share the passion. And even more, share your life. Because ‘castellers’ are more than a simple group of people who made ‘castells’. They are friends. And this is the most important for them and the most reason they still exist.

During the performance, the typical sound of the castellers creates a very special atmosphere. A small instrumental group starts to play when first people are going up. The music reaches its maximum intensity when the ‘castell’  is finished. This is a great moment, the ‘enxaneta’ – name of the kid who complete the castle, boy or girl – stand his hand and all the people starts to applaud. But wait, they still can’t not relax. They still have to download the castle! After it yes, they can relax and enjoy. The faces of concentration and suffering are now faces of happiness. After long hours of tests, they got it. They are happy, and all people are happy.

Now is the turn of next group. Same way, but different castle. Because they are a lot of different castles to do. 2 de 8, 3 de 7, 4 de 8 ‘amb agulla’. Second digit is the number of the flats, and the first one is the people in each flat. ‘Agulla’ is when in the middle of the tower there is an other second tower. And there’s also a lot of variants, as for example ‘folre i manilles‘, which is with a lot of pinya helping the castle. ‘Pinya’ is people who are supporting the castle. Because they always have to prevent the worst thing can happen, fault down. But I’m now an expert at all. I just like to go there sometimes and enjoy the atmosphere. And now I also have friends in Castellers de Sagrada Familia. So, this is another reason to go.

As I said before, there are a lot the groups of ‘castellers’. As we can see in the ranking, the first three ones are: Minyons de Terrassa, Castellers de Vilafranca and Xiquets de Valls. This last is the young group of Valls, the city where everything starts one day at the end of the 18th century.

I don’t want to finish without saying one of the most curious thing of ‘castellers’. Well, as my point of view. This is the other people who is watching ‘castellers’.
“Unbelievable!” – “Oh my Good!” – “Waw!” – “How is it possible!”.
Yes, I’m referring the tourists 🙂
Because it’s so difficult to see ‘castellers’ in other part of the world. But, only in Catalonia is possible? No! for example in 2012 Castellers de Vilafranca went to New York. Ah! And could you imagine Chinese people doing ‘castells? See photos bellow 😀

Well, my friends, if you got to read up here it means you are interested in ‘castellers’. It means you are interested in Catalan culture. And this is great! And now, next time you come to Catalonia I  hope can see you in the same way as tourists.
“Unbelievable!” – “Oh my Good!” – “Waw!” – “How is it possible!”.

But quite different. Because You know a little bit more about ‘castellers’! 😉

Àlex Castells

PD with some videos and photos of Castellers. Enjoy!

Castellers de Vilafranca in New York

castellers a nova york

Castellers de Vilafranca a New York

Chinese casteller

castellers xinesos

Competition of Castellers with all groups


Sometimes the ‘enxaneta’ up on the balcony of the town hall

Rafael L—pez-MonnŽ

Castellers is concentration

castellers és concentració
Castellers is people at the squares

castellers és gent als balcons
Castellers is all together

castellers és unió

castellers is everybody together
Castellers is happiness after downloading the castle

Castellers is happiness after downloading the castle

Nice video of different moments of a Casteller

Amazing castell of Castellers de Vilafranca: 3 de 10 amb folre i manilles. The end is really exciting.

First ‘castell de 8’ of the history (2010)

Vídeo of the ‘Castellers’ contest, with all the explanations


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