When last I wrote, I mentioned that Mike and I had walked through the Boquería our Saturday afternoon in Barcelona. What I didn't mention is that prior to going there, we watched the castellars. If you've looked at the photos, you probably have guesses that castellars are people who form castells (castle). The plaza was wall-to-wall people who were there to watch the teams build the towers, and we pushed as close as we could to get near them.
The castellars have roots in 18th-century Catalunya, and while it has spread to other areas, it remains most popular in that province. The teams always wear white pants and black sashes, but each team wears a different shirt color. The sashes are the most important part of the uniform because they not only support the castellars' backs but also serve as a hand or foothold for those climbing higher. Some castellars wear bandanas (See photo below.), and only the child who tops the castell wears a helmet. (Yes, a child climbs to the top. See the photo above, and you can see the girl climbing into place.)
If you are interested in seeing a great video of a castell, click here. If you'd like to see a castell fail, click here.
Next time: Fire!