Sitges' Corpus Christi: When its Streets Become Carpets Made of Flowers
Flowers and tradition. That's the essence of Sitges' Corpus Christi, which also ushers in the summer in our town and does it like almost everything else here: with enjoyment shared by locals and visitors alike. If you're in Sitges, you're from Sitges.
Let's break it down for you. The Corpus Christi tradition: the first documented reference to the celebration of Corpus Christi in Sitges dates back to 1358. Little by little, the celebration's liturgical acts -with the Corpus Christi procession as the main, solemn act- began to be complemented by a more recreational component, very characteristic of Sitges, with the participation of locals, Gegants (processional Giants), fire-breathing beasts, etc.... Tradition and fun, also very characteristic of Sitges, am I right?
The flower part: as early as the 19th century, the townspeople were encouraged to decorate their balconies with flowers and adorn their façades with branches. Later, the streets were carpeted. And it is truly a unique spectacle in Catalonia and the Mediterranean. If you have the chance to come visit Sitges this upcoming June 19th, you will be able to see for yourselves. This year, 35 flower carpets with spectacular designs are set to be created, and they will cover different sections of the streets and corners around the center and the old town. That's what will be happening on the ground, because, as we said, if you look up you will also see the locals joining the party by decorating their balconies and terraces in green, red, blue, pink, lilac, yellow... and colors you aren't even familiar with yet ;)
The carnation is undoubtedly the key flower featured in the carpets. The creative process begins with the idea for the design which, after being approved, is drawn, with outlines, directly on the streets. The process then consists of filling in these outlines with the planned floral arrangement. In some of Sitges' streets this is done the night before, in this case on June 18th, while in others it is done the very morning of Corpus Christi Sunday. In both cases, locals of all ages participate. The result... well you only have to take a look at the pictures.
The flower carpets are usually ready by mid-morning and remain on display until the afternoon, when the Corpus Christi procession parades across them. This is also a very spectacular moment because the religious entourage, which is headed by the Parish Cross, is joined by 'Gegants', as well as several beasts (Sitges' Dragon and Eagle) and the Colla del Ball Diables (Devils' fire dance group). Also participating are the boys and girls who received First Communion, as well as the 'Hereus' and the 'Pubilles' (the first-born children) from Sitges' different organizations and neighborhoods.
There is also another must-see event on Sunday 19th. In addition to the flowers and procession and giants and fire-breathing beasts...there is the Dancing Egg. Yes, we're referring to another tradition that has been documented since 1886. You can see 'L'Ou com balla' (careful, it's very hypnotic) in the spectacular fountain at the entrance of the no less spectacular Maricel Palace.
Lots to see, am I right? No worries: we'll share the program with you, so you won't miss out on any of the scheduled activities. And we'll be waiting for you with flowers, the sea as a backdrop and the summer as a witness. Not a bad proposal, is it?