Idioma [ Castellano  |  Català ]

The Vilafranca festival lasts for five days (August 29th, 30th and 31st and September 1st and 2nd), although it jumps into life days beforehand. A collection passes through the streets selling programs, with the help of the “setrills” – kids that knock at all the doors. A series of acts are also programmed, which includes the festival opening speech, an art fair, some concerts and the novena of Sant Felix, a church service performed nine times with traditional Catalan verses called “goigs”.

Human Castle in the town square - 4 DE 9 AMB FOLRE I AGULLA (4d9fa)


The festival officially begins on the 29th with a tronada (trails of explosions) along the boulevard. Following this a procession of traditional Catalan folklore goes down the boulevard until it reaches the main town square. The procession features the dragon, devils, Serrallonga dance, eagle, giants, dwarfs, big heads, Cotonines (dance with people dressed as horses), Malcasats (dance with bride and groom), Panderetes (Dances with handkerchiefs), Pastorets (dancers with long sticks), Cercolets (dancers with garlanded circles), Ball Pla (traditional dance), Figuetaires (dance with blue and white hats), Bastoners (stick dance), Panderos (tambourine dance), el Ball de les Gitanes (gipsy dance) and the castellers (human castles). The procession starts again in the early evening, and the Moixiganga (traditional religious dance) and the effigy of Saint Felix are added. The procession makes its way towards the basilica and when the effigy of Saint Felix goes inside, a ritual is performed known as “l’entradeta” (little entrance), which marks a difference from the following night’s procession. A firework display illuminates the sky when night falls.

The next morning, central day of the festival, Catalan wind instrument players called “grallers” play morning hymns at dawn, with a sad and solemn sound. At noon, human castles perform in the main town square, featuring the four best teams in Catalonia. In the evening, the procession makes its way towards the basilica once more. One of the most awaited moments of the festival occurs when the effigy of the Saint goes inside the church, while a firework display lights up the night sky above and all the dancers and musicians perform at once. This show of people and lights is known as “l’entrada” (entrance). On this night, different performances take place on the street, including concerts and traditional dances with “gralles”.

On the morning of the 31st, all dances that form part of the procession perform on top of a stage, situated in the main town square. When the devils dance onstage, satirical verses are recited about local political and social life in Vilafranca. When evening falls, the procession makes its way round town again but ends somewhere different each year, due to the fact that the effigy of the saint is taken into a different town administrator’s house each year. The administrators keep the saint for the whole year until next year’s festival, the only days during which the saint appears in the church.

On September 1st, the Festa Major dels Petits (Kids’ festival) takes place, when all the children involved perform the same dances as in the main festival. On September 2nd, the Festa Major de Vilafranca ends with a spectacular firework display.

Reference website:
The description is taken from the official website of the Festa Major de Vilafranca del Penedès: