Many years have gone by since Barcelona City Council, in conjunction with the Cathedral of Barcelona, decided to revive one of the oldest and most sumptuous festivals celebrated down the ages in the city: Corpus. And they have done so focusing on two of its most popular and participative aspects, which are fruit of the collective heritage of the people of Barcelona: 'l'ou com balla' -the dancing egg- and the procession.
Corpus Christi has long been celebrated in Barcelona. The city is decked out to take part in a demonstration of this rich, popular tradition. This year, in addition to the usual venues, we will be able to visit new floral carpets, such as the one in the Church of Sant Ramon de Penyafort, the carpet of flowers and wood shaving made by the Sant Camil Workshop's vocational centre at the Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món.
As the Corpus Christi celebrations coincide with the arrival of the Flama del Canigó, on Sunday 23 June, we will be able to admire the creation of a floral carpet depicting the arrival of the flame that lights the Sant Joan bonfires, organised by Comissió de la Flama del Canigó de Barcelona, together with the Raval Floral Carpet Makers.
'L'ou com balla' is one of Barcelona’s most unusual traditions and has marked the Corpus Christi celebrations since 1637. It is a custom that consists of making eggs dance on top of the spouts of water issuing from the fountains in the cloisters, patios and gardens, which are adorned for the occasion with floral arrangements and cherries.
The tradition, as unsophisticated as it is mysterious, arouses passions among scholars, who still argue about its origins and meaning. For some it is a metaphor of the cycle of life and a reference to time and unceasing movement. Others see in it a simple entertainment typical of the Middle Ages.
Regardless of the discussion about its origins, what is for sure is that the tradition has its roots in Catalonia, the only place in the whole world where eggs are made to dance. Thanks to its enormous popularity this celebration has found a place in the collective imagination of the people of Barcelona.
The springs and fountains of some cloisters and courtyards of the city show the game between water and an empty egg, enveloped by flowers. This year in the city there are seventeen representations of the dancing egg distributed by all the districts. We invite you to stroll through the city to discover them!
The highlight of the Corpus Christi festival in Barcelona is the festival procession, a secular parade with popular retinue figures such as the Giants of la Ciutat, Pi and Santa Maria del Mar, the Eagle, the Lion and the Ox. They will be joined by a variety of dancers, musicians and other popular culture characters, such as “trabucaires” with their blunderbusses, the Coronela militia, and the “falcons” (acrobatic human-tower makers) and “moixiganga” dancers.
The procession, which has been held in Barcelona since 1320, is part of the city’s intangible cultural heritage. For centuries this musical parade has been the city’s real annual festival. On the civil and communal side it has given rise to numerous dances and festival-imagery figures: the “gegants”, or giants, the “capgrossos”, or big heads, the “bestiari”, or beasts, plus dances and intermezzos created by the popular imagination on display in the showcase that the Corpus Christi procession has historically been.
The procession is held on the Sunday following the Corpus Christi festivities and this year's falls on June 23rd. A variety of characters will set off from the City Hall courtyard 18.30 pm on, accompanied by music and following a strict order. After the presentations and obligatory dances, the festival procession will make its way up Carrer del Bisbe up to Pla de la Seu. There the ecclesiastic procession will join up with the festival procession, with the unique Custodia on the throne of King Martí under the floral crown.
19.00 in plaça de Sant Jaume: Performances of Falcons de Barcelona and the dance of Barcelona’s Corpus Giants.
19.10 in plaça de Sant Jaume: Departure of Seguici Popular parade – giants, beasts and dances- from the Town Council.
19:15 in Plaça de Sant Jaume: Departure of festive procession. Route: carrer del Bisbe and plaça Nova, where the Seguici Popular will stop until he departure of ecclesiastical entourage.
For Corpus, the Associació Cultural Joan Amades will discover the majority of the heritage buildings of the Old Barcelona where the ou com balla is organized: the Palau Nadal and Palau del Marquès de Lió, the current headquarters of the Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món; the Palau Requesens, where there is the Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres; the Palace of the Lloctinent, seat of the Archive of the Crown of Aragon; the Palau Reial Major where is the Frederic Marès Museum; the Cloister of the Cathedral of Barcelona and the Casa de l'Ardiaca, the headquarters of the Historic Archive of the City of Barcelona. The tour will end at Casa dels Entremesos, where many of the festive imagery elements of Ciutat Vella are guarded throughout the year.
Hours: Thursday, June 20, and Friday, June 21, at 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., departure from the Montcada square.
Free activity. You must register in the following form: Ruta de l’Ou com Balla
For Corpus, the hall, the stairs and the gothic gallery of the Town Council are filled with giants and beasts
The fountains of some cloisters and courtyards of the city show the game between water and an egg, wrapped in flowers
On the occasion of Corpus Christi, various equipments celebrate an open doors day. A unique opportunity to discover places that are usually closed to the public!