This event kicks off the seven-day Festa Major de Gràcia, a week of parties, parades, and FIRE. Catalans (and their Valencian cousins) practice a form of celebration known as the “correfoc” or “fire run.” These festive street parties, typically taking place after dark, feature several different “fire gangs” who each have their own drumming contingent and gangs of demons and dragons who run and dance through the plazas and streets of the neighborhood, spouting joyful fire and sound along the way. The residents of Gràcia and visitors along turn out en masse to dance along with their kids squealing as they run alongside the parade.
Les Matinades de Foc, or “Mornings of Fire” is a daytime correfoc that kicks off the Festa Major de Gràcia every year. Admittedly the fireworks lose a bit of their punch in the daylight, but still quite the spectacle as they step off from Plaça de la Revolució and make their way through the major plazas of Gràcia, ending up in the village’s main square, Plaça de la vila de Gràcia, where each of the gangs performs a short, fiery dance routine to their drummers.
Caveat on these videos: I’m a photographer, not a videographer. Still, these capture just a bit of the spectacle and the energy of the Matinades de Foc 2022.
Vanguard Drummers & Musicians
This group passed by our apartment at about 8:30 in the morning, before the festivities kicked off at Plaça de la Revolució shortly after.
Staging the Correfoc
The gangs and drummers gather on Plaça de la Revolució where they will step off to parade through the major plazas and connecting streets on their way to the main square of Plaça de la vila de Gràcia to perform their routine.
Note the diversity of the participants: children of all ages in every role (drummer, fire demon, marcher), women & men of all ages, sizes, and colors, those in traditional costumes and those with shorts & t-shirts, some wearing hearing protection, others just covering their ears with their hands.
Guns and Fire Approach Plaça del Sol
The parade is led by four gunners who call attention to the festivities with shots fired from old muzzle-loaded blunderblusses that the handlers load hand between shots and fire in rhythmic procession. The gunners comprise men and women in traditional Catalan costume. These videos do NOT capture the intensity of the bone-shaking bangs these guns emit.
They are followed by the six fire gangs of Gràcia; those handling the fireworks wear colorful costumes that are constructed to protect them from the flying embers and sparks. Note: spectators are advised to wear clothing that they don’t mind getting damaged by those same embers and sparks. Not all of them do. 🙂