The Covid-19 paralysed everything, including the castellers, but this Thursday of Sant Joan the Colla Vella and the Colla Jove dels Xiquets de Valls will raise some symbolic pillars in the Plaça del Blat. Following a strict clinical protocol that allowed the trials to begin weeks ago.
A clinical study promoted by the Ajuntament de Valls, Pius Hospital, and the ABS Valls Urbà-ICSa has led to a pilot test endorsed by the Generalitat, where the green light has been given for 100 castellers from the two colles to take part in the raising of the first pillars on Thursday 24 June.
The return of the castles in the square is part of the resumption of the traditional activities of the town festival of Valls, and will be one of the most eagerly awaited images for a world of castellers that has had to reinvent itself due to the lack of activity during the pandemic.
Strict health measures protocol
All the castellers taking part in this event are subject to a health measures protocol that guarantees, among other things, that they will have passed an antigen test and will wear FFP2 masks at all times. The same protocol has been successfully applied to the previous rehearsals, which began on 4 June.
The Plaça del Blat will be a perimetered area with four controlled access points, and only the castellers taking part in the pillars will be able to enter, as well as other members of the two colles who will attend as members of the public.
Another atypical year
Although the improvement in epidemiological data has allowed the relaxation of some restrictive measures and makes us look to the future with optimism, it is also clear that we are still far from returning to a normality that makes it possible to have a season of castellers like years ago.
In a context in which the public administration is giving preference to the recovery of economic activity, amateur cultural activities, especially when it comes to the raising of castles, which by their very nature make distancing impossible, still find it more difficult to avoid being left behind in the de-escalation of restrictions.
That said, these symbolic castles represent, at the very least, the return of the castellers’ atmosphere, returning to the square, and being able to enjoy a group activity that may not be essential for the country’s economy, but is surely necessary for our emotional health.