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Dancing under the fire

The correfoc is a Catalan tradition that owes its origins to ball de diables (‘devils dance’), already documented in the 12th century, but did not take its present form until eight centuries later. In Malgrat de Mar there is a colla de diables (‘devils group’) since 1998 and it is them who organise the correfocs during the patron saints festivals.

A correfoc is a pyrotechnic show that runs through the streets of a town. During the parade, the devils carry a pitchfork charged with carretillas (a special firecracker that produce a rain of sparks and explodes at the end). People dance under these sparks with the devils to the music and rhythm of the drums. Fireworks are kept mainly inside a waggon that follows the devils and the musicians. As they make their way, participants can also find some surprises like waterfalls of sparks or strings of firecrackers that must be crossed to continue the tour.

Traditionally, participants ask for water to the neighbours, who are pleased to help, in order to get wet to keep on dancing under the fire. Devils should never get wet because wet gunpowder can explode out of control instead of burning normally. To participate in a correfoc you should follow some basic safety precautions: wear cotton clothes (long-sleeved shirt and long trousers), cover your head with a hat or a bandana, wear comfortable shoes and always follow the instructions of the organisers. If you follow the advice, it is easy to enjoy tradition!