Gigantes y cabezudos at the Fiestas del Pilar. Zaragoza, Spain. 2009

Each day of the Fiestas del Pilar at noon a procession giants and bigheads passses through a different part of town to end up at the Basilica del Pilar.

At the head of the procession are groups of youngs who line up an taunt the the big heads to chase them with their whips.

The bigheads charge after anyone who gets too close and lightly whip them. This all is done in fun and I think that the Spanish have tapped into a very basic human desire to be chased. Engogirl got chased by a bighead and had a big smile on her dial all day.

Most of the kids love being chased and it really lightens the heart to hear the squeals of delight of little kids being chased.

Of course some children freak out and run screaming and crying to their parents. The parents tended to pick the frightened child up and while comforting them, take them back to the bighead chasing them showing that it was all in fun. The guys in the bigheads go to great effort to comfort any kids that get frightened.

Many of the parents and grandparents would call over the bigheads with chants along the lines of, “torre-a-dore, torre-a-dore,torre-a-dore” to chase their kids. I guess that they were tying to pass on something that they enjoyed as children.

Of course some of the children were just too small to get what was going on.

Following behind the bigheads are the giants which dance and swirl around to music played on traditional instruments like bagpipes and reed instruments similar to oboes.

It’s also interesting to see big heads in the form of stereotypes that havent been around, in Australia at least,  for about 50 years. A hunchbacked negro jockey?

That would go down like a fart in an elevator in the States, but such images don’t seem to be considered inappropriate in Zaragoza. Then again, bullfighting is still very popular so I guess the locals have been somewhat desensitized to how other beings feel.

Having said all that about an unfortunate remaining stereotype, the procession on the whole represented a lot of fun for just about everyone except the guy selling balloon swords. 

He stood around in his token greasepaint as everyone walked by enjoying the free fun without buying his wares.