The Gegants! (And St. Roch)

In my previous post I mentioned that I have been on a mission to find some of the hidden gems throughout Barcelona. I recently visited the Reial Academia Medicina de Catalunya, which made me feel like I was in a Dario Argento film. My husband is now binge watching Argento films on youtube.

We recently stumbled upon these large figures on one of our first walks through the Born district. I had never seen or heard of these before, but I couldn’t wait to get back to our Air BnB and begin my research.


These are the Gegants, a Catalonian tradition, that I learned date back to the Middle Ages as a way to act out Biblical stories for the illiterate public. Now, these figures are part of different festivals throughout the region and specifically in Barcelona, the Merce Festival, where they are brought out to perform traditional folk dances and parade throughout the city. Growing up in New Orleans, surrounded by Mardi Gras, this all seems very familiar.

I happened to find a museum in Barcelona, tucked away in a square in the Born district, which houses the Gegants. Just enjoy the photos and if you are in the area, definitely visit the Casa dels Entremesos, where you can learn more about the individual gegants. I’m so glad we bumped into these along the way or we would have never known about this.

These are the dwarves, or capgrossos (big heads) often worn by children.


These two figures are some of the original gegants. They represent St. Roch and Eulaila (for those New Orleanians reading this, it’s not just a hip market in a gentrified part of the city), but St. Roch provides protection from the plague. They also act as the hosts of the Placa Nova festival on St. Roch’s day in August. You can read more here.


More of the Gegants. It’s hard to see in the photo but they are so big, that they stand through two floors. Each pair has their own specific dance.



I thought this one looked like Elizabeth Taylor. I couldn’t stop staring at her.


I’m so glad we stumbled upon this and hope to see them walking around again soon.


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