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L'ou com balla in the Archives of the Crown of Aragon

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The celebration of Corpus Christi in Barcelona has a tradition of medieval origin called L'ou com balla. The fountains in the courtyards of various buildings in the Gothic Quarter are adorned with beautiful floral decorations and an egg "dances" on the water that flows from the fountains. Initially, this tradition was limited to the source of the cloister of the cathedral of Barcelona, ​​although from the end of the 20th century, it was extended to other fountains in the city. The theological meaning of this custom is related to the exaltation of the Eucharist, because, visually, it is associated with the ritual action that the priest performs when raising the consecrated host on the chalice.

The day of Corpus Christi, in addition to celebrating a mass, traditionally a procession was carried out through the city with the Blessed Sacrament. Along with him, the popular uses introduced figures that also processioned, like the giants, kings, apostles, and the bestiary (eagle, lion, "mulassa", ox, etc.), which seems to be related to the symbols of the evangelists.

In the Archives of the Crown of Aragon, various documents that refer to the procession of Corpus Christi are preserved. Among them, highlights a Resolution of the Council of Castile of April 4, 1772 Nueva ventana (folios 152v-154r) by which, after reviewing the mockery and irreverent acts committed by the bearers of the figures that they integrated the procession, the "ridiculous figurines" were forbidden to procession. Previously, after hearing the bishop and the city council of Barcelona, ​​the Royal Court had decided to limit the actions of the bestiary during the procession: the lion should not roar, the "mulassa" could not use rockets, the ox had to refrain from ramming the children, the eagle could only dance in front of the Custody, etc., although the resolution of the Council of Castile was more restrictive.

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L'ou com balla

Salto de línea From Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 June, from 10 am to 7 pm. Free access

Viceroys Palace (C. Comtes 2). Archives of the Crown of Aragon.

Program PDF