Insane. I’m lucky to be alive. There we were, standing in the middle of Plaça Antoni Maura with increasingly large numbers of people building up in front of a huge model of “the gates of hell”, complete with fierce-looking dragon. On the right was a huge collection of people beating out a very intimidating rhythm on a set of amplified drums…
After a few minutes, I started thinking “Hmmm, we’re kind of penned-in by the crowd right in the middle of this area…” (I had an inkling what was about to happen), then people started whistling, and all the people around us started wrapping bandanas around their faces, dousing themselves in water, and pulling hoods (& welding masks!) up over their heads, and putting glasses on. I had two 3-4 year old girls on their parents’ shoulders in front of me, they also began pulling large hoods over their heads.
Then suddenly these ‘creatures’ dressed like devils poured forth through the gates of hell, held up all manner of explosives over our heads and lit them. It was absolutely insane. I had foot-long sticks of explosives exploding one metre from my head, I could feel the shockwaves hitting my head and my ears popped immediately. I tried to get out but couldn’t. Panic! People were trying to come towards us, others trying to escape, I though there would be a crowd crush and people would die…it was all a bit intense, but that’s the Spanish/Catalan way. Fun, fun…Except if you work in a hospital :-).
This video explains rather well what it’s all about: