A year in the life...

Los diablos de Barceloneta
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 - Los diablos de Barceloneta - Techno-Impressionist Museum - Techno-Impressionism - art - beautiful - photo photography picture - by Tony Karp

It was June 23rd and we were in Barcelona. Time for the festival of Sant Joan (Saint John). The Hobbitt and I had stopped near the marina and picked up several bottles of cava, the local version of champagne, and some cocas, traditional flat cakes, baked only on this day. These are the traditional food and drink for the evening's celebration.

We were sitting on the deck of a sailboat owned by a German couple that we had met. They had sold their restaurant in Germany and were sailing around the world. So this evening, we joined them on their boat in the marina.

We were sitting around, indulging in cava and cocas, when we heard the sound of drums in the distance. It was coming from the direction of Barceloneta, one of the oldest sections of the city. The Hobbitt and I decided to explore.

We walked down the narrow, ancient streets until we found ourselves in a public square, dominated by a church on one side, with a fountain in the middle of the square.

The drummers were on a makeshift stage, set up on one side of the square. They were young and full of enthusiasm. Then, two large masks, with fireworks ablaze, descended on ropes from the top of the church to the fountain in the center of the square. We wondered what would happen next.

A group of teenagers, dressed as devils, ran into the square and began circling the fountain. They were carrying long sticks that at first looked like pitchforks. But what was on the end of the sticks were fireworks that were soon set ablaze. They kept circling the fountain as yet another group, carrying fireworks, joined them.

Soon, members of the watching crowd began to enter the square and chase around with the devils, having first gone to the fountain to douse themselves with some water to help ward off damage from the nearby fireworks. I still have a shirt with little holes in it from that evening.

After a while, a band started to play music, and couples danced in the square, still surrounded by devils and fireworks. The Hobbitt and I joined in the festivities.

This is Barcelona's biggest night, and many people stay awake 'til morning. Public transportation ran until the wee hours so it was easy to get back to our hotel around 3 am, with the sound of fireworks, from all over the city, still echoing in the background.

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