CATALONIA – After an absence of two years due to the pandemic, La Patum returned to Berga in northern Spain. The event this year, took place from the afternoon of Wednesday 15 until Sunday evening June 19.
La Patum is one of the most emblematic Corpus Christi festivals in Catalonia. Furthermore, it has been celebrated for the last 600 years. In 2005 it was declared a UNESCO Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Thousands of people come to Berga in northern Spain each year to celebrate this event. Not only that, but it is an event where almost everyone in the town gets involved.
For all the family
St. Peter’s Square was filled with little Patumaires (children) who enjoyed the jumps of Patum carried out by the troupes of La Patum Infantil. The children´s version is exactly the same as the adults (fire included) but it is just on a much smaller scale. Rehearsals for the Children’s Patum start two weeks prior to the event. During this time, learn the various dances. It is the best “academny” for future performers.
Traditionally, the Tabal (a massive drum) announces the start of the celebrations and has done so for the last 400 years. As the drumbeat continues revellers jump in time to the beat. Some of the revellers dress as giant, symbolic animals and characters make and their way through the town´s squares and streets.
As Tweeted by @AjuntamentBerga “The Patum de Lluïment on Sunday was attended by the Minister of Culture, Natàlia Garriga, who took part in the festivities as part of the procession of authorities and followed La Patum jumps from the town hall balcony”.
The plens (fire demons) are dotted throughout the crowds. As the lights in St Peter´s Square are turned off, and the music begins, the demons come to life. They set off firecrackers which are worn on their costumes, and dance and spin around the square.
Along with the flames, smoke, fireworks, and music, it is quite an atmosphere.
La Guita Grossa
La Guita Grossa (giant fire breathing dragon character) also participates in the jumps, and traditionally carries a wine skin to the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia.
However, it seemed that not everyone was enjoying the event to the full.
Various concerts due to be staged during the event were cancelled at the last minute. As Tweeted by @AjuntamentBerga these were cancelled “due to the impossibility of being able to perform with the optimal conditions of space and logistics”.
However, as reported by ElNacional.cat, they were cancelled following a complaint from a nursing home resident as the resulting noise would exceed the 80 decibel level allowed.
Seemingly, the judge offered the option to reschedule the concerts so they could at least finish earlier. However, normally after the concerts, there is a DJ which continues until around 5.00 am. Therefore, the judge had no option but to suspend the concerts from taking place.
The hymn La Patum de Berga 2022
Although the celebrations were enjoyed by “almost” everyone, the Mossos (Catalan Police) Tweeted that during this year´s Patum, they reported 68 drunk drivers, and 4 for testing positive for drugs. A further 2 people were arrested for assaulting police officers, and 28 complaints were filed.