Sunday, December 23, 2012

There might be giants

This afternoon we visited the gigantes de cazubos, roughly meaning giants or big heads or  as they are known in Catalunya, gegants, at the Museum of the Emporda in Figueres. The huge heads are made of papier mache and plaster and then painted. They include warts and all. In fact one head resembled someone we know. Some of the heads on display dated back to the mid 1800s. A lady from Girona was demonstrating how she made the giant heads and some smaller ones. Most of the colourful heads were historical characters or heads resembling ordinary people while others were cartoon characters.

The giants are usually hollow figures several meters tall, with the papier mache head and arms, the rest of the body being covered in cloth and other clothing. Their frame is usually made of wood or aluminum. Someone walks inside the frame and controls the movements of the gegant in a parade. Quite often there will be gegant couples and towns will send their gegants to walk in other town's parades. The gegants may represent the townspeople, kings and queens and local nobility.

After our museum visit we returned to the streets of Figueres to join the masses of people shopping or just enjoying passegata on this warm evening. The Christmas market selling poinsettias, smalls wheels of cheese, meats, nougat, marzipan, lots of lovely looking sweets and little miniatures. Bars and restaurants were filled with people eating tapas, us included. Fortified with a little plate of shrimps cooked in garlic, oil and spicy chili peppers for me and a small plate of squid for Seamus, it was time to return home.

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