Tuesday, 17 September 2013

16th Salt Festival at L'Escala, Costa Brava, Spain

Description of the Festival of Salt at L'Escala

Held on the third weekend of September


Pailebot Santa Eulàlia from the Maritime Museum of Barcelona.
The Festa de la Sal was created in 1997 to commemorate the 3rd centenary of the town’s Alfolí de la Sal, the old salt storehouse where this once costly mineral arrived by boat from the salt pans of Ibiza and Torrevella before being distributed to towns inland. In homage to its origins as a fishing and salt-distributing village, the town of L’Escala relives a day in the life of the old port from over a hundred years ago.

This is a fisherman’s dance from the Bay of Roses. The dance takes place around a boat to the sound of a guitar in order to celebrate a good fishing day. The dancers follow the rhythm using castanet type “nyacres” which are made from seashells known as curculles.

This is a fisherman’s dance which was performed on the beach to herald a bountiful catch. According to Amades the dance actually comes from L’Escala. Local writer Víctor Català wrote about the dance at the beginning of the 20th century. The fact that the leading dancer carried a lighted torch in his mouth in order to burn the dragon’s tail has meant that the dance lasted as an event in the local carnival.

This is an open dance which has formed part of the local Carnival in L’Escala since time immemorial. Its origin is attributed to the dance performed by the sailors who accompanied Theseus when they finally left the Minotaur’s labyrinth using Ariadne’s thread. An unlimited number of dancers hold each other’s hands and make a long chain, jumping and following the turns and twists of the leading dancer. One of the most spectacular parts of the dance is the “Cargol” or snail, when the dancers come close together, without letting go of each other in an explosion of joy. The dance was prohibited during the early years of Franco’s dictatorship. Dance teacher Josep Clos managed to recover the dance steps from the last surviving witnesses and he included it as part of the Farandola dance repertory.

Youtube video of Festival in 2011 and  Festival in 2012

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