Catalan popular culture on show on the streets of Berlin

The Carnival of Cultures at Kreuzberg plays host to over 70 nations

Marta Bausells

May 24, 2010 02:05 AM

Berlin (CNA).- The Catalan community of Berlin actively participated in the Carnival of Cultures (Karneval der Kulturen), a festival where diverse cultures and ethnic groups which coexist in the German capital meet and celebrate. Catalonia took part for the first time in this festivity.
The Culture Carnival is a tribute to all cultures that live together in Berlin. At the carnival´s start in 1995, it was tied to the economic and political changes taking place in the city after the fall of Communism. Every year, in the multi-ethnic neighbourhood of Kreuzberg, around 4,500 people and 70 nations are represented. The Carnival consists of a big parade and a four-day street festival with 340 information stands and traditional music, food and drinks from each culture.

Catalan residents in Berlin took part in the parade wearing traditional attire, including `barretines´ (red hats) and `faixes´ (wide belts). A percussion band, `capgrossos´ (a human-sized figure with an oversized head) and a `geganta´ (a giant figure dressed in traditional clothes) joined in on the fun. This group was organised by the ‘Katalanischer Salon’, a Catalan cultural centre in Berlin. Its president, Òscar Bernaus, said they were ``very happy and excited to be able to show the citizens of Berlin our culture, even if it is a tiny part´´.

In addition, Catalonia had a stand in the street festival, where the delegation from the Catalan Government in Germany offered touristic, cultural and historical information to those who were curious about traditional elements of Catalan popular culture, such as the `capgrossos´ and `porrons´ (a special-shaped wine bottle with a long spout to drink from).