Stability on #WordyMonday

Castellars at the University of Girona, (c) Carole Edrich 2010

Castellars at the University of Girona, (c) Carole Edrich 2010

On November 16th, 2010 the building of human castles (Castells) by teams (Collers Castalleres) was declared by UNESCO to be one of the ‘Masterpieces Of Oral And Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. The tradition apparently originated in or near Valls which is near Tarragona in the Southern part of Catalonia at the end of the 18th century. In 1981 the building of a nine-level castel ignited a resurgence in the popularity of this very social group discipline.

How it feels

I was invited to witness the building of a Castell by students at the University of Girona just before Easter 2010. The thrill of being able to lie on the floor in the centre of the students as they built their castles around me is as vivid to me today as it was back then. The whole process takes lots of practice. The traditional belt and the way that pillar members lock their arms together adds to individual and combined stability. There’s also a technique to climbing the people as the castell is built. I know it starts with using the belt edges with your feet to help push oneself upwards but didn’t learn much more as, because I was only a few months out of chemo, I didn’t have the core strength or muscular stability to experience more.

Castellars at the University of Girona, (c) Carole Edrich 2010

Castellars at the University of Girona, (c) Carole Edrich 2010

How it’s done

Find one of my earlier posts ‘building human castles in the sun’ here, and this youtube video is of the creation of what is purportedly the largest human castell of all time, by the Castellars de Villafranca. Although the outside people all face inwards you can see that the inner supporters wrap around each other in all kinds of different ways. You can also see that some key people climb a little way to boost others further before dropping down to help support the castel from its base and that the highest of the 10 levels is comprised of children. You can also see there are a good many team members gathered densely around those acting as pillars. This is so that, if anyone does fall, they can effectively catch the falling person, preventing what would otherwise be a serious injury.

Thanks to

Stacey Drummond, who suggested Stability for #WordyMonday at Carole Edrich Photography. Next week’s #WordyMonday word will be Aire.