Once a year, Barcelona lets their devils out to dance & play with sparklers. Perched on stilts, they frolic above the sea of people and mobile video recorders. In the background, you can just make out through the smoke the figure of one of the "gegants i capgrossos," papier maché giants, which are truly huge and tower over the crowd.
This is la Mercè ~ celebrated since the Middle Ages to commemorate Barcelona's victory over a plague of locusts in 1687. To help them in their fight, the citizens of Barcelona asked the Virgin Mary for help and when the city was delivered from the pestilence, she was named patroness of the city of Barcelona (recognized by the Pope in 1868.) And this annual festival has been celebrated in September ever since.
In Catalan, the word mercè has meanings related to service, help, a sense of compassion, and loving mercy. In the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona (where the above dance took place) there is a basilica dedicated to the Virgin, where a wooden image of her is venerated.
If you are thinking of seeing this for yourself, Barcelona's tourist guide warns: "It is highly advisable to take protective clothing because often powerful sparkler fireworks are sprayed into the crowds. People should bring hats, protective glasses and thick long sleeved tops that will protect you from the flying sparklers. If you are of a nervous disposition then maybe you should consider standing well back from the Correfoc (fire runs)."
Consider yourselves warned ;)
[with help from Wikipedia and Lonely Planet]
Critiques | Translate
Giustiniani (3632) 2014-01-22 6:00
une ambiance sulfureuse très bien restituée avec les fumées de couleur souffre et les superbes costumes colorés. Diablement bien réussie.
rigoletto (34279) 2014-01-22 10:47
a photo which i would expect to see you in the very front line, but you fell back! does it mean that you have a nervous disposition?
the catalan devils' parade looks gorgeous under these fogs and fires, and further, there is a hidden hero behind the fog, which gives a further depth to the scene. if hell is somewhere like this, then i'm in :))
abmdsudi (57160) 2014-01-26 5:55
That's firework frenzy! a quintessential and excellent night shot full of atmosphere with the glowing light, colours and smoke create lots of sensation as strong eye catching element and the way you got the lighting there conveying the feeling really well. You must be very pleased with how this came out given the condition, Very well done shot and tfs. Congrats
jcpix (13930) 2014-01-29 14:30
Oh, this is delightfully devilish! :) Must be quite an event that you would need to be that well protected, they take their partying seriously...just as it should be. Mwhahaha! Quite a stark contrast of element...the red devils and their "fire," and the group of onlookers with their camera's.
I'm loving the festive atmosphere you've bottled up here, and with the proliferation of hazy smoke and muted street lamps there's an air of mystery and intrigue to rival the visual. Party on!
Enjoy the rest of the evening. Take it easy.
CLODO (35352) 2014-01-30 7:27
We can feel the joy of the red runners dancing over the many tourists heads and their cameras!!! in a big amount of smoke well seen thanks to the backlight.
I witnessed some "toro de fuego" parties in Saint Jean de Luz, and the advice of your note are the same.
adores (46299) 2014-02-16 14:46
This is a nice scene! The devils really stand out and I like the effect of the smoke and lamps that add a lot to the atmosphere of the event! Seems really interesting and even unusual!
delpeoples (59430) 2014-02-26 2:01
Gidday dear Kris
Long time no see, I hope you've been keeping well. What a great title, and a fascinating shot of the cultural traditions of this amazing city. When you said dancing with devils, I thought you meant you'd gone to a disco with Juan and Carlos ;). I love how you included the modern day phenomena of people recording the scene with the mobile phones and cameras. An interesting and compelling POV.
Take care my dear