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Why you should visit Barcelona's quirky egg dancing festival

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Why you should visit Barcelona's quirky egg dancing festival
Ou Com Balla festival in Barcelona. Photo: Esme Fox

Have you ever heard of Barcelona's bizarre egg dancing festival? This odd tradition has even been declared a Heritage Festival of National Interest. Here's everything you need to know.

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Every June, the city of Barcelona celebrates the L'Ou Com Balla festival, held in conjunction with Corpus Christi, which is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday in commemoration of the Last Supper. 

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This year it runs from June 8th to June 11th, 2023, with decorations and events on in various locations throughout the city. 

Roughly translated as 'How the egg dances', L'Ou Com Balla is one of the region's quirkiest festivals, along with the correfocs (where firework-wielding devils run through the streets). The festival is only held in Barcelona and its origins date back to between the 15th and 17th centuries according to different historical records. 

Several places in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain, such as the coastal town of Sitges, mark Corpus Christi with giant carpets made of flowers and petals spread throughout the streets. While you can see a few of these in Barcelona, the Catalan capital celebrates a little differently. 

Here, the flowers decorate the public fountains found in many squares, cloisters and gardens across the city. And in the middle of these elaborately decorated fountains sits an egg. 

Pushed up by the force of the water, the eggs seem to almost dance in the spray, creating a beautiful, hypnotic, if not slightly comical scene.

The trick to making it dance is to blow the egg yolk and white out of the shell through a tiny hole made in the bottom and leave the whole shell intact. 

You can see the dancing eggs in fountains across the city in locations such as Barcelona Cathedral, the Frederic Marès Museum, the Marítim Museum, Casa de l’Ardiaca and Palau Lloctinent, as well as 13 others. You can find out where here

This means that it's also a chance to get to visit little-known squares in palaces, churches and other places you can't normally access without paying a fee. 

Last year in 2022 Barcelona celebrated the 700th anniversary of the Corpus Christi procession and it was the first year that Barcelona's Corpus Christi celebrations were proclaimed as a Heritage Festival of National Interest.

See how the egg dances in Barcelona. Photo: Esme Fox

As well as the dancing eggs, there will be floral carpets set up in various spots around the city including at Barcelona Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi, and the Reial Monestir de Pedralbes. 

The Corpus Christi procession will take place on June 11th. It will begin with mass at the Cathedral at 6pm, followed by dances from the city's giants or gegants and performances from the human tower acrobatic team, the Falcons at 6:50pm in Plaça de Sant Jaume. The main parade will begin at 7pm. 

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