Idioma [ Castellano  |  Català ]

August 23rd and 24th are the focus of the summer festival at Sitges, in celebration of Saint Bartholomew. Each year, however, festivities last for a total of seven days, from August 21st to the 27th. Declared a Traditional Festival of National Interest on June 5th 1991, Sitges has been able to preserve its festival as one of the most significant emblems of its identity as a town.

The acts celebrated on these dates represent a mixture of religious and non-religious acts. Different religious events stand out, such as the service given at the local church with the presence of civil authority members and a procession that follows a long and central route along the main town streets. All the traditional dances form a part of the procession, which ends with the effigy of Saint Bartholomew carried into church, after the traditional dancers, accompanied by a small firework display. This represents an emotional moment of the festival. It is important to note that Sitges is one of the few places in this country where religious processions still take place as part of the town festival. 


In terms of non-religious events, different street processions stand out, especially the breath-taking moment when the « grallers » (Catalan wind musicians) play music at sunrise. The procession of giants is accompanied by the other dances and folkloric elements: big-heads, fire beasts, dragon, eagle, devil dances, stick dances, circle dances, ribbon dances, handkerchief dances and gypsy dances. Bringing up the rear of the procession is the moixiganga (religious dance) that is especially well-known in Sitges for its ceremonial aspect and historical continuity.


On the night of the 23rd, the firework display – one of the most important and awaited events at festivals throughout Catalonia - precedes a different procession of dances and traditional folklore that goes down the steps leading from the church towards the sea, known as the  « Punta ». On the main day of the festival, dedicated to the saint, morning rituals include festival groups that go and wake up the town while carnations are given out from carriages. Traditional Catalan music, known as « cobla », add to the festivities.


Reference web sites:
http://www.sitges.com/festamajor 
http://cultura.gencat.net