Catalan giants (gégants) are enormous painted figures, several metres tall, constructed on a wooden or aluminium framework with heads made from paper maché and plaster of paris – a tradition which goes back to the Middle Ages, depicting religious figures in parades.

The ‘geganter’ walks inside the framework, hidden by the giant’s clothes, and navigates via a hole cut into the robes, covered with mesh or lace.  He also carries a harness on his shoulders which he or she will move to make the giant shake and dance.

For parades, Giants are normally accompanied by ‘little big-heads’ (Capgrossos) smaller figures with oversized head, who will often use one hand to hold the head, carry a whip or pig bladder in the other, to frighten children or young women.

Danses de Géants à Villefranche
The Danses de Géants à Villefranche

Most Catalan towns have their own giants, often representing some important person in the town’s history. They usually appear in couples, often as king and queen, or some other important person from the town’s history and go out during the patron saint holiday of the town (Festa Major) or on special days, dancing in the streets.

giants in Catalonia
The Gégants of St André
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