barcelona book

Correfoc, the dance of devils

The dance of demons is one of the traditions born in Catalonia then extended to the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands that is celebrated during a traditional festival.

Don’t think that it consists only of people dressing like a devil and dancing until the end of the music, it is more than that actually. Well, at the beginning, it was something like that in 1150 corresponding to the year found in an official document and describing this following fact.

During the wedding celebration of Ramon Berenguer IV the Holy and Petronilla of Aragon and to entertain the

guests, a group of people was performing the fight between Lucifer with his demons and the archangel Saint Michael with his angels.

It was something as a theatrical act and since the devils dance is a representation of the fight between the good and the evil, it was also used during the processions of the corpus, a great way to give a more ceremonious and spectacular vision. With the time, it has been changed to a parade called correfocs and at the head not only to announce the festivity but also to move people away so making spaces for the rest to march.

In Barcelona, the first reference was found in the book of solemnity of Barcelona describing the festival of 1423 in order to commemorate the arrival of the king Alfonso V of Aragon from Naples in the city.

Nowadays, the parade of devils is only celebrated during a local festival with many firecrackers and fireworks because the main and most important component is the fire. It is also a good way to tell everyone that a party is celebrating right now in their neighborhood because bangers make a lot of noise and smoke.

It exists 2 types, one performed by children, normally during day time, and one done by adults, normally during night time. Of course, the second one is more impressive. Also there are 2 forms, one with a theatrical performance and one without.

As you can guess, the first one plays the rivalry between the evil and the good so it should have Lucifer, Saint Michael... and the other, only devils so no angels. If you have the luck to see the parade of demons in Barcelona, I will recommend to be careful of sparks because they can hit your clothes making some lovely small holes and to wear something to protect your eyes.

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