Tag Archives: Catalonia

today’s holiday: Agonalia (2015)

Agonalia (2015)

In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and of doorways. The worship of Janus is believed to have been started by Romulus, one of the legendary founders of Rome. Usually depicted with two faces, one looking forward to the future and the other looking back to the past, his image appeared on an early Roman coin with a ship’s prow on the reverse side. During the festival in honor of Janus known as the Agonalia, the rex sacrorum, or officiating priest, sacrificed a ram. Offerings of barley, incense, wine, and cakes called Januae were also common. More… Discuss

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, August 26th, 2014: St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars

today’s holiday: Human Towers of Valls

Human Towers of Valls

On St. John’s Day in the city of Valls in the Catalan region of Spain, a touring acrobatic company, or comparsa, presents the human tower of Valls. The acrobats form human towers or pyramids with four to six men at the base and one or more children at the top. The towers can extend to eight times a man’s height, and they are formed to the musical accompaniment of the gralla, or native oboe. There is a point during the performance at which the children on top salute, the music ceases, and the entire structure stands immobile for several seconds before collapsing gracefully to the ground. More… Discuss


The Llibre Vermell de Montserrat

On a narrow terrace more than halfway up the precipitous cliffs of Montserrat in Spain is a Benedictine monastery that houses a library. Perhaps its most precious item is the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, or Red Book of Montserrat, a manuscript containing devotional songs by unknown composers. Filled with songs for pilgrims, the manuscript was completed around 1399 and once contained 172 double pages, but more than 30 have been lost. Why does the manuscript have “red” in the title?More…