The Fiesta Mayor de L’Arboç is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in August, and is known as one of the typical festivals of Catalonia. The L’Arboç Festival was declared in 2009 “Heritage Festival of National Interest”, and contains five “Heritage Elements of National Interest”: The Dance of Canes, the Giants, the Castellera Exhibition, the Devils Dance and La Carretillada. The festival is dedicated to the patron Saint Julián and the co-patron martyrs, Saints Justino and Fortunato and Saints Cándida and Victoria. The traditional structure of the Fiesta Mayor de L’Arboç has remained unchanged since ancient times and consists of parades and exhibitions in front of the town house, where folk groups exercise and exhibit to the delight of the public.
They are especially appreciated by the public:
- The evolutions of the Ball de Diables de l’Arboç and the bath of fire they generate with their wheelbarrows (whistling firecracker with circular spark).
- The chotis of the Baile de Canes de L’Arboç, consisting of the progressive acceleration of the dance, which ends up having a dizzying rhythm of music and strokes of the cane.
- The Dance of Giants and Big Heads of L’Arboç, highly appreciated especially by children and where on Sunday noon the dance of the couple of centenary giants of l’Arboç takes place: the Chabran and the Llucía, original pieces from 1827and declared in 1995 Movable Heritage of the Generalitat.
- The progress of the Badalot Dragon, the roaring of the Guineus Trabucaires, the Garot (mule) dances, the showiness of the Ball de Gitanes and Cercolets, the sound of the Ball de Pastorets and the pillars of the Minyons de l’Arboç (Castles humans), which always close the arbosenses parades.
The origin of the giant Chabran is also very curious, since it is a figure that imitates General Joseph Chabran of the Napoleonic army who in 1808 burned the town of L’Arboç, starring in one of the most remembered war episodes of the French War. After a few years, the town dedicated a giant to him not to pay him any homage, but to make him dance and make fun of him, since he wears a hat with a burlesque sense that is not suitable for a general.
L’Arboç also has a pair of giants, Gumersindo and Teresina, highly appreciated together with the dwarves, and who represent the town’s bailiff and a lacemaker, a very typical l’Arboç trade that has given the town international fame.
Apart from the parades there are two acts that stand out and have their own recognized identity:
- The Castellera Exhibition: with the best groups in Catalonia to one of the 10 most anthological and traditional squares of the Principality
- La Carretillada: a spectacular and much appreciated orgy of fire starring the Ball de Diables de l’Arboç and simulating hell on earth.