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February 12, 2006

Festa de Santa Eulàlia - La Laia

We spent this weekend chasing after the cavalcadas of gegantonas and gegants with Enrique, Raquel and Hiroshi. This major winter festival is dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona, Santa Eulalia, affectionately known as "La Laia." She was martyred in 304 in Barcelona and interred at Santa Maria del Mar (she's the patron saint of mariners as well as the city of Barcelona) but was moved to the cathedral in 1339 and is "the undisputed heroine and patron of the Barcelona cathedral." The festa of La Laia -- all girls named Eulàlia are affectionately nicknamed Laia -- is celebrated from February 9 to 15. This is now the third year in a row that we've seen the events. In addition to the gegantonas, there was the usual mix of events including a carrefoc, the breathtaking spectacle of the castellers doing there thing (castle-building), and of course, the sardana. Definitely a great week to come visit Barcelona if you want to absorb some of the local folklore.