Falcons of Barcelona, the human pyramids
If many people know about the castellers (human tower), few know about the falcons (human pyramid) although their performance can include towers, they are simpler but they make other figures more complex.
Originally, the falcons came from the sokol (a slavic word meaning falcon) which is a sport movement and gymnastics organization founded in Prague in 1862.
This acrobatic trend will appear the first time in Catalonia at the beginning of the 20th century, exactly at Penedès in 1942 and it will extend quickly to other cities like Barcelona in 2003.
The difference with the casteller is that the falcon has less
members and there are more choreographies and movement in their show. For instance, they can make human pirouettes. There are only 2 things that both are linked, the clothes and the music. Indeed, the falcon has inherited the white trousers and t-shirt with a belt since the casteller was born during the 17th century. About the music, it is the traditional catalan double reed instrument in the oboe family called gralla, a kind of wooden flute.
In Barcelona, the falcons made their first appearance during the santa eulalia festival of 2003 at the sant jaume square, in front of the city hall. In order to distinguish them with other city group, their bell is always red and they never go out without their official mascot called nikulau, most famously known as niku. As you may guess, the mascot is a hawk dressed in a white t-shirt and trousers with the red bell.
The group is composed of women, men and children from the youngest to oldest ones. In order to consider that a figure is successful, the youngest member has to climb to the top and to stand up then to go down without making the whole pyramid falls. Once that all members, who created the figure, are on the ground, the performance is considered as a success. If you are interested about the castellers, read my topic Castell, human castle and about the festival, Festival of La Laia, the saint eulalia for children.