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La Dansa de la Mort de Verges 2024

An ancient and unique Dance of the Death

Dates: March 28, 2024

La Dansa de la Mort de Verges
La Dansa de la Mort de Verges
La Dansa de la Mort de Verges

La Dansa de la Mort is performed in Verges, a small village north-west from Barcelona near Costa Brava shore, every year on the Maundy Thursday night. This Holy Week tradition of folk culture has its origins in the Middle Ages, when the theme of death occupied a leading role in literature, music, painting, and religion.

The procession beats the drums, and performers start their scary dance in skeleton costumes that symbolise final judgement after death. This unusual dance gathers thousands of spectators, who pay an admission fee​ to watch it. During La Dansa de la Mort, five skeletons jump to the sound of a tabal (drums), which is placed in the shape of a cross. Four other characters illuminate this dance with torches. The main characters of the Dance of Death are two adults—the Scythe and the Flag—and three children—the two Plates, who carry the plate of ashes, and the Clock without bits.

The Meaning of Tradition

Each character is assigned a symbol that they carry in their hands, through which the character communicates death maxims constantly and repetitively. The dance of death, with the help of a flag, a scythe, and a clock without bits and plates, tells us that death spares no one, cuts down our lives, and reminds us that at any time, we will turn into ashes.

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Authors: Olena Basarab