Ball de Bastons (Sticks dance) is the name of a ritual weapon dance spread throughout Europe and the rest of the Iberian area (cossiers in Majorca, Portuguese pauliteiros, Aragonese palotiau, Basque ezpatadantza and Spanish paloteo or troqueado) but mostly in Catalonia. English and Welsh Morris dances are well-known relatives to these traditions. The origins of dance are difficult to reference; first recorded mention dates to 1150, in a banquet of Count Ramon Berenguer IV, sometimes called the Holy, was the Count of Barcelona who brought about the union of his County of Barcelona with the Kingdom of Aragon to form the Crown of Aragon.
Most melodies are based on easy 2/4 rhythms. Instrumentarium includes gralles, shawm, tabor, pipe, and/or bagpipes. Some of these tunes were strikingly popular among European Renaissance and Baroque composers.
Various different traditions are encompassed in the phrase, but normally the dancers will all carry one or two sticks (bastons) traditionally of holm oak, about 40–50 cm long and 5 cm thick. In the most common set, two opposite rows of dancers elaborate some patterns of stick-clashing. Sometimes, a peculiar chief character directs the movements and changes. The dancers may wear white skirts or short trousers, as well as ribbons and ornaments in different colours. Normally there is also a standard-bearer which dances with one stick only and holding the standard/pennant over his/her shoulders with the other.
Balls de bastons can be seen in most (if not all) Festes Majors celebrated in many cities, neighbourhoods, towns and villages throughout Catalonia.
http://www.balldebastons.cat/ -site of the Catalan National Ball de Bastons association which coordinates the different groups spread throughout Catalonia. In Catalan only.
Gencat.cat / Colles -Catalan government index site of the websites of the different colles (groups) of popular and traditional arts such as castellers, grallers (music), giants and big-heads, tabalers (music), sardanistes (dance) or diables (devils) among others. In Catalan only.
Video: © primitiu22