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By Liliana Brown, California State University – Long Beach

The festival of Santa Eulalia, Barcelona’s patron saint, was this weekend (going from Friday to Tuesday) and I joined in the festivities. The fire run, or in Catalan “Correfoc”, was fun, although I must say that there were not enough paramedics on hand to make me comfortable. It was more like a parade with fire and I got lucky enough to eventually get to the front. My host mom made sure I had a hood on and she was right because was it raining fire. Some other tourists did not get the tip, although I don’t think anyone got burned. The music and drums really made the event.

The next day I went to the human towers event, which was so much fun! They also started with a parade with lots of drums and teams from different parts of Barcelona. The announcer was only speaking Catalan so this is what I could pick out. I believe that it was a competition, partially in speed, and partially in “form” or how the tower was made, and the last bit was for strength (or not shaking). So for about an hour, I watched these teams build towers with only helmets on the kids at the top and then come down and start over again. It was very interesting to watch the faces of the people and the obvious team bonding they had. I only saw one person fall and they were on there way down anyway and the kid was caught.

It’s clear to me that these events promote lots of country pride, not so much for Spain as it is for Cataluña, that for the most part, I lack (with the exception of 4th of July). The people I have met here are all deeply rooted in their history and culture. It’s something that I’ve come to admire and enjoy. I’ve come along way since my first week here in Spain and I can say with confidence that I’m assimilating well.