Yet another in the Homage to Barcelona series…
In September every year during the fiesta of La Mercè, there’s a Correfoc. It’s probably impossible to convey what being in the middle (or, more likely, on the side) of the Correfoc feels like. The name comes from the combination of the Catalan words for run and fire. The Correfoc proceeds along Via Laietana. It’s incredibly loud, smoky, chaotic, and some would say dangerous. I can’t imagine such a thing being allowed in more “civilized” countries, for fear of injury, lawsuits, etc. People are advised to come with some kind of head covering to avoid getting burnt by showers of sparks. The Correfoc is unforgettable.
The main Correfoc is so explosively crazy that they put on a scaled down version for kids. That happens a couple of hours earlier, when it’s still light. The explosions are fewer and perhaps softer, and there’s less in the way of flame and sparks. But it’s still damned impressive.
Here’s a video I took at the 2007 Correfoc. My son Lucas (age 6) was relatively brave this year. I managed to get him to stay crouching with me on the road sheltering under a top in the middle of dancing devils and showers of sparks. He was terrified and exhilarated at the same time.
Remember: this is just the kids’ version. Turn your volume up to Max and you might get an idea of the noise level. The background thumping is the sound of drums.
In contrast, last year (aged 5) we took him to the adult version, having missed the kids’ one. He was standing on a windowsill with three other kids, all yelling in advance for them to “bring on the fire!” etc. When the Correfoc got within range he lasted about 30 seconds. As you can see, the adult version is pretty severe. Take a look.