Do you fancy exoticism without going too far? Let’s travel to Barcelona to discover there the Ou com balla, or “how dances the egg” tradition. This Corpus Christi tradition of Barcelona will be celebrated from the 20th to the 23rd of June 2019; it could be a perfect reason to have a break as a family or with friends and see a celebration which does not exist somewhere else.
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What is this celebration?
It consists in making dance an empty egg on the spurting water of the fountain of a church cloister or of a square, or of a public edifice. The whole fountain is covered of plants, fruit and flowers, which are there to decorate it but to avoid the fall of the egg too…
The origins of the tradition
"L'Ou com balla" in the cloister of the Barcelona Cathedral and the Palau del Lloctinent - Xavier Caballe and Micaco, Wikimedia Commons
We don’t know many things about the origins of Ou com balla; the first theory in that the egg symbolises the Eucharist during the Corpus; and the second one pretend that the egg represents fertility, resurgence and good omen. The celebration of the egg which dances was born in the Cathedral of Barcelona, between the XVth and the XVIIth centuries according different sources, the most named date being 1637.
Where and when is celebrated the Ou com balla
The Barcelona Cathedral, one of the scenarios where you can see "l'Ou com balla"
As we told before, this tradition takes place during the Corpus Christi day, so just 60 days after the Resurrection day or Easter Sunday. The Corpus day is on Thursday but the Ou com balla is celebrated during several days, until the Sunday so more people can attend this centenarian ceremony. Most of Barcelona’s inhabitants prefer seeing the dancing egg in the Cathedral, the most famous place where the tradition was born, but you can see it in many other places as in the Frederic Marès Museum gardens, in the Casa de L’Ardiaca, or in the Poble Espanyol and many other places; you can even see the ceremony several times as there are many dates and hours during the four days. Moreover, the simplicity added to the singularity of this tradition made it so famous and popular that it’s possible to see the spectacle in Tarragona and Sitges…
But how is it possible?
Seeing a dancing egg on the a water fountain is not very common, and this original ceremony origins questions… If several theories exist about the meaning of the Ou com balla, we can also have interrogations about the way it works… So if you want to solve the mystery of the egg on spurting water by yourself, you should not read this… Before putting the egg on the fountain, it is emptied and the hole is plugged with wax. Then it’s put on the water and it begins turning on itself and seems to dance; that’s how the name Ou com balla or dancing egg appeared!
After theses relaxation and originality moments, the best way to go back home with your family or your friends is setting up comfortably in one of our Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation trains and enjoying the beautiful views from your seat.