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Running in front of Giants and Bigheads – Spanish Tratidion

The centuries’ old tradition of running in front of the Giants and Bigheads is something that everyone in Saragossa has participated in. The origin of the group of character figures has become somewhat lost in time.

We know they existed in age-old municipal documents that tell of processions where these figures appeared. Nowadays the Procession of Giants and Bigheads is an essential part of any of the local festivities in Saragossa.

They appear on the day of Saint Valero (San Valero 29th January), the 5th of March, and particularly during the Fiestas del Pilar, where they form an essential part of the festivities of our city. The group of Giants and Bigheads that belongs the Saragossa City Council is a fundamental part of the festive celebrations in the Aragon capital, specially for children.

Any local person recognizes him-, or herself in running in front of the Bigheads as a child. Hence reminisces, as well, being amazed at the majestic size of the Giants. A couple of years ago the old group of figures was completely restored to the delight of young and old alike. The figures that currently wander round the streets of Zaragoza are the descendants of the old characters created by Félix Oroz in the middle of the 19th century, ever since, the Bigheads and Giants form part of the collective memory of the people of Zaragoza.

In the middle of the 19th century Saragossa City Council decided to commission the sculptor Félix Oroz for a new group. As a result of that assignment, the artist’s proposal to the Council was not only to restore the existing figures, but also to add Cervantine characters to the group such as Don Quixote, Dulcinea, the Bigheads of Teresa Panza, and Sancho Panza. The latter are two figures that have changed their names over the years and given way to Foránea and Robaculeros.

After almost a century, in 1964, a new group was created, and the old Bigheads were burnt in a spectacular pyrotechnical display. In 2001, to redress the mistake previously made, the old group was re-created by using a reliable reproduction of the designs. Thereby the figures recovered their expression of cool insolence, originally created by the sculptor, Félix Oroz, more than a century ago.

The main characters that you can see nowadays are:

BIGHEADS

  • El Boticario El Verrugón
  • El Tuerto El Forano
  • El Robaculeros La Pilara
  • La Forana El Torero
  • El Morico

GIANTS

  • Los Bearneses El Duque y la Duquesa
  • Don Quijote y Dulcinea El Chino y la Negra
  • El Rey y la Reina

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