The Spanish love to see their history on parade

THERE is no doubt that the Spanish love parades and often the more unusual the better.

One theme that is always popular is that of the ‘gigantes y cabezudos’ which translates as ‘giants and big heads’ which have heads finely made from papier maché and invariably depict characters from Spain’s past.

The gigantes are hollow figures which are several metres high where a single person controls a harness within the body which allows it to shake and dance whilst the cabezudos are human size but with very large heads. Looking out through the mouth, this character normally uses one hand to steady the head and in the other holds a whip or inflated pig bladder so that ‘he’ can frighten children.

These figures are often accompanied by a marching band and cause much hilarity in parades around Spain, particularly during the Fiestas del Pilar which falls on October 12, a national holiday.

The most famous of the Pilar Fiestas is run in Zaragoza from October 10 to 18 and will certainly include these grotesque manikins, although on October 12, the statue of the Virgin Mary surrounded by flowers will take centre stage in the parades.

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