The Patum de Berga, declared a World Heritage festival, is the purest expression of the ancient myths and rituals associated with fire. Lost among the ancestral traditions and intermingled with religious beliefs from a much later time, in this fire festival mythical and symbolic animals leap and dance to a rhythmic, sometimes frenzied beat, in a haze of smoke, sweat and heat, music and cries, which makes the little square of Cremada de Sant Pere throb with energy.
With a intensity inconceivable to anyone who has not experienced the festival, and in the style of a ritual and tribal celebration, the Tabal, the deep tones of a giant drum herald the start of the Patum. The ancient figures of the Guites, mazas, Eagle, the Turks and the knights, the giants and the dwarfs are all brought to life by actors, who are always accompanied by a masked figure with fireworks and firecrackers attached to the horns on his mask.
To ensure safety in the Patum, the runners wear damp grass to guard against sparks, and bind their jaws to prevent their teeth from chattering when the firecrackers explode. The festival ends in a flurry of sparks with the plens and the tirabol (traditional representations and dances), with a relentlessly spinning sun which, year after year, leaves all the participants reeling with a magical sensation.