Tag Archives: Avila

Los Cabezudos y Gigantes

“All the people in my village in Avila meet at the ‘Plaza de Ayuntamiento’ (City Hall). After we set off fireworks and when they finish the ‘Cabezudos’ start running and chasing after the people with branches and they hit the people. These ‘Cabezudos’ are first and then in the back are the ‘Gigantes’ (Giants) with the town band.  If you want to get chased you go to the front of the procession and if you want to be safe you go to the back with the giants and the band. This happens in the morning and then at night they do another thing. It’s called ‘Toro de Fuego’ (Fire Bull). One man puts a still structure with a bull form and in the horns they put ‘corre calles’ or ‘bengalas’ (light sticks, type of fireworks). When they fall off the horn the fireworks dance around the street on their own, like a type of rocket. This is a festival in my town and is less known than Sen Fermines.”


When does this festival take place?:

“The festival starts the 15th of July to about the 30th of July. The festival happens once a year and celebrates the saint of our town, San Pedro. ”

What are some other things that you guys do during the town festival?:

“There’s no school during this time because it’s summer. During any other summer night it would be normal to see lots of young people out on the street. But during the festival all ages and types of people are out on the street celebrating. A group sets up a stage and there are concerts and performances every night.”

Do you know how or who build the Cabezudos or Gigantes?:

“‘Cabezudos’ are big, plastic heads. I think they buy some and other, smaller ones they make. The same people who wear them during the procession either make or buy their own heads.”


The direct translation for “cabezudo” is an adjective meaning headstrong. But within the context of this festival the term is used as a noun for the large-headed characters that are a part of the parade. The direct translation for “gigantes” is giant. In the town festival these accompany the ‘cabezudos’ and are similar caricatures but are giant in height.

Upon further research I learned that the “cabezudos y gigantes” tradition is not isolated to the informants hometown of Avila. These characters are present in the parades of the patron saint festivals of many towns throughout Spain and now even in Latin America. The most famous example of them is from the patron saint festivals of San Fermin, known as ‘San Fermines’, as the participant had mentioned. Most town throughout Spain include them as a part of their parades, but not all do.