CorreFoc – Dance with the Devil at the Fire Run!
See the Flames, smell the smoke, dance with devils at the ‘CorreFoc’.
Fire! The night of fire burns! Boom! Fireworks scream and flash! Drummers loudly beat their drums. Drumming that incites you, inspires and even invites you, because tonight -for one night only- you have permission to dance with the devil.
Approaching the ‘CorreFoc’ (Fire Run) fiesta for the first time, through the throngs of people weaving in and out of old cobbled streets, you may well be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled upon a Satan worshipping festival, but this cultural celebration reaches far deeper and is steeped in tradition and history
In Port Andratx tonight, a sense of high expectation fills the air. An intensity everyone can feel, because we’re all waiting for the same thing. I find my vantage point up on a stone wall and notice hundreds of people arriving and milling about. The elderly cradling each other and their walking canes, young children fearfully holding onto their mother’s skirts. Hordes of families and friends are present as well as resident ‘Glamour Pusses’. Shoulder to shoulder they stand together, yet in stark contrast to one demographic that never misses the event, the ‘Renegade Youth’. These little urbanite ninjas come prepared, adhering to the proper dress code. Riot Attire: Gloves, trainers, trousers, hooded jersey, a bandana or cloth covering their nose and mouth, revealing only their ready eyes.
Perched on my wall, I wonder ‘how can they cope wearing so many layers?’ The evening’s getting late and this summer heat is so intense. I check the skies, finding only stars burning in the black night. Then, it occurs to me…’Damn, Hell is even hotter!’ Hell, we’re still waiting for its inhabitants to surface.
There’s a smell of acrid smoke coming from down below, where loud drums and bagpipes accompany a procession, as of ancient times. Behold! Fire dancers dressed in tied black robes, twirling instruments of fire parading down the public street. I turn to look up the stone slope, where a lifetime of innocent souls once trod in ascent towards an illuminated church, and there -against the light- they stood. Dark and strange silhouettes in the distance, flaming torches reflecting on their heads with curled horns.
Suddenly, the drummers stop…only to begin again with extra fervour. People start to take notice that our hosts have arrived.
Down the slope the darkened figures arrogantly stride, mad and dangerous inside a column of flames. Full of swagger and drink, spitting fire as if in spite, laughing hard, hollering out loud! They wear sack cloth, rope and leather in black, brown and red with clanging goat bells hanging from the front of their trousers.
I become more entranced the closer the Devil gets! My growing desire is to see how their horrific features of twisted angles to high foreheads, cheeks and jowls can capture nightmares!
Then, just as one ‘Dimoni’, or ‘Demon’, passes me by, I catch his human eye behind the mask. The moment chills and thrills my soul. What’s real in this fantasy?
Dimonis lurch forward to tease and taunt the unsure crowd into stepping back, their fear parting them like the red sea. This scary spectacle is not for the fainthearted. It’s designed to really frighten you. By comparison, Halloween is nothing but child’s play.
Hypnotic drumming has long since gathered the masses into a circle, to share the vibe of being ‘one tribe’. Now, our demons and participants forge into the central point and run about wildly, breathing out flames, firing rockets from pitchforks that scream like Banshees. It’s clear why ‘Renegades’ dress as they do. They may like to play with fire, but they don’t want to get burnt. This is the ‘Fiesta de CorreFoc’. For underneath a canopy of white sparks held from a tall, spinning, screeching wheel, is the Devil himself, with his minions and welcome newcomers alike, all jumping for joy and forming a reel of dancing shadows. A coiled serpent is rolled out spewing fire and, finally, at its frenzied climax a curtain of light pours down on them like a waterfall of white fire in Hell.
At last, the drumming stops. The Dimonis disappear back into the smoky night, leaving only silence and disarray. Crowds begin to disperse knowing that tomorrow, daily life will return to normal.
That is.., until next year.
In addition to the numerous activities offered throughout the entire season, those lucky enough to find themselves in Port Andratx during mid-July will soon be immersed in what is arguably the Port's most festive month for Las Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen, the Patron Saint of the Sea.
These traditional fiestas have withstood the test of time and are held every year around the same date. The fiestas, take place on and around the 16th of July, with much of the Port taking part in this revered celebration.
Read more about Port Andratx here
By Romy Bunn Belamy
29 August, 2018