The flame had been brought down from the summit of Mt. Canigou to light the bonfire. The two, two-storey statues of St. Jean have circled the arena bowing and turning as they do. The 1000+ attendees of the Fête de St. Jean have been given a glass of Muscat and a biscuit all to mark the start of summer and celebrate the solstice, a gift to the attendees from the village.
Then it is the time for the Correfocs, a Catalan tradition, to arrive. Dressed as witches and devils, they are not evil, but sprites here to play with the people. And play they do. Some run and jump as they hold the fire pinwheels in their hands. Others dance with flame, while some shoot fireworks off their backs and heads. The youngest Correfoc can’t be much more than nine, and in watching them prepare I saw a gray hair or two.
The dragon enters the ring and as he does one of the pinwheels approaches and he too starts spouting fireworks from his wings, tail, nostrils and ears. He is a polite dragon, bowing to the crowds and gathering in their applause.
The air is gray with smoke until the last round of the fireworks is muted. The last flame is extinguished, the drums continue, the orchestra picks up the music and the crowds behind the barricades join the dancing.
Summer has begun.
I could not film it, but I did find two youtubes that show the Correfocs performing in Barcelona. It gives you perhaps 30% of the feeling of being there.