Caramelles at Easter


Believe it or not, there are still plenty of towns in the regions of Barcelona where the custom of singing caramelles is alive and well. These traditional Catalan songs mark the end of the fasting and abstinence associated with Easter. The choir members always produce a joyful sound, halfway between jest and gallantry, so if you’re looking for a really fun Easter activity, look no further!

 

1. Caramelles del Roser in Sant Julià de Vilatorta

One of the most ancient caramelles traditions is in Sant Julià de Vilatorta, where the custom of Easter singing dates back to 1590. And to demonstrate that its 426 years of history are no small thing, the Caramellaires del Roser Group runs through a very wide repertoire of songs about everything from politics to courtship, not to mention religious themes. What’s more, it unveils a new song every year. What will it be about this time? Come and visit Osona to find out!

2. Bells and sticks in the caramelles of Súria

You’ll enjoy the Caramelles of Súria if you enjoy crowds, since the gathering of choirs on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday brings thousands of participants together. But it’s also the place to go if you prefer a combination of singing and dancing: the dances with bells and sticks are one of the most characteristic features of the festival in this town of the Bages region.

3. Countryside Caramelles in Cardona

The singing at the farmhouses is perhaps the most entertaining part of the Caramelles of Cardona. But the journey there is a joyful affair as well. The singers or caramellaires are accompanied by the intermittent blunderbuss shots of the trabucaires and the constant sound of a drum until they reach the farmhouses. As tradition dictates, their audience awaits them with the table laid and with an envelope of money inside the breadbasket.

4. Ballestes in the Caramelles of Callús

There’s plenty of hubbub in the Caramelles of Callús as well, where young and old take part in the town’s most important celebration. The euphoria is contagious! The final singing performance is especially heartfelt. The ballestes are raised to the sky and the ribbons featuring the Catalan flag flutter in the wind. If you don’t know what ballestes are, carry on reading!

5. Escaires (poles with right-angle brackets) in the Caramelles of Sant Pere de Ribes

Ballestes are extendable concertina-type wooden contraptions that the caramellaires use to pass flowers up to the people who listen to them from the balconies of their homes. They also serve to collect the donations that their audience sees fit to give them, to make percussive sounds and to play pranks of an erotic and sexual nature. But if you look for them in the Caramelles of Sant Pere de Ribes, you won’t find them, since in this town of the Garraf region they prefer the simplicity of the escaires - long red poles with right-angle brackets. Fancy baskets hang from these poles, containing flowers that are passed up to the windows of family members, neighbours and acquaintances after the enjoyable performance.

 


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