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What are Human Towers or Castells?

 

living it human towers 02

Castellers are fit Catalan women and men who build extremely high human towers, trying to keep the whole tower as still and stable as possible so that the “enxaneta” (helmeted kid) can climb to the top of it and wave her/his hand successfully.

Castellers (or human tower builders) are a tradition with a history of over two hundred years, which is one of the liveliest popular expressions of Catalan culture.

54 “colles” (or registered groups) throughout the regions of Catalonia and 16.000 “castells” or human towers assembled every year. These figures refer to a unique practice in the world and it is a practice that has been declared Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO.

Human tower can be up to 10-people high. Hundreds of Catalans of all ages take part, from 60-year-old veterans that help to form “la pinya” (the solid base of the tower), to the brave “enxaneta” (a child of no more than six years old) who crowns the tower.

Human Towers constitute an authentic symbol of unity and are an example of Catalan philosophy of working together. A tradition full of expressivity and emotion that can be defined with these four ideas: ‘Strength, balance, courage and reason”

Living it wants to share this hold-your-breath activity with you. You can take part in a real castellers rehearsal (weekdays) or in a crowded weekend performance in the center of the village!

Written by Barbara Ruiz

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