My highlight of the La Mercè festival is the Correfoc. It’s the craziest, nosiest, most insane thing I have ever been part of. Correfocs – meaning fire runs – are a Catalan tradition and they make sure that the festival goes with a bang. Large crowds line the streets as groups of devils come their way, dancing and waving large sparklers and fireworks into the crowds which spray anyone and everyone. The bangs are loud, the fire real, and the fear and adrenalin is addictive.
Anyone with a shred of sense will wear headscarves, cover every inch of their body, being careful not to expose even a hint of skin and keep their eyes safely behind some big sunglasses. Because, let me tell you something, this would NEVER be allowed to happen in the UK!
A blast of fireworks signal the Correfoc, and the devils start to dance their way down the street.
As the devils get closer, half the crowd will run in the other direction making for safety, but the other half will stay in the way of the devils, getting rained upon with sparks.
Some people are absolutely crazy and get right in there.
As you can see, I didn’t take my own advice. I regretted it, I can assure you!
The devils like to ensure the sparks reach far and wide.
The groups of devils have their own pet dragons which spray fire into the crowd. They are quite terrifying!
They are naughty little dragons!
Following each group of devils and dragons are a band of drummers, who dance and drum their way through the festival whipping the crowd in to a frenzy!
At the end, there is nothing to do but rub your eyes, inspect how much hair you have left on your arms, and ask ‘did that really just happen?’
Want to experience this craziness, get yourself to next year’s La Mercè Festival in September.