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13 May · alleventshotels · No Comments

“L’ou com balla” (The Dancing Egg), a beautiful tradition in Barcelona

Catalan folk traditions that persist

Culture in Catalan gardens and cloisters in spring

It is curious how human traditions of such simplicity L’ou com balla persist. This enchanting testimony of Catalan religious and popular folklore dates back to 1637 when it was first documented in the cloister of Barcelona Cathedral where an empty egg was made to dance over the fountain spring on Corpus Christi Day.

In fact, this simple but fascinating custom is nothing more than that, the captivating dance of an empty egg on top of a fountain’s water spring, as its name indicates: L’ou com balla (The Dancing Egg). Around the spring of water, a breadbasket with plants and fruits is placed to prevent the egg from falling to the ground, as well as adding colour and beauty to the spring spectacle. If the egg falls into the water it can get up again and dance with the strength of the fountain and if it is able to endure without breaking throughout the day, it is considered a sign of good luck.

The symbolism of the festival can be deduced from its elements: we have water, eggs and nature, all three are symbols of fecundity and regeneration in a spring moment of vitality and flowering as is the day of Corpus Christi. In this sense, it has also been given a religious identification with the Eucharist, because, remembering that the day of Corpus Christi is the celebration of the conversion of Jesus into bread and wine, the tradition of L’ou com balla is considered an allegory of the chalice (the fountain), of the sacred host (the egg) and of its elevation.

Allthough the origin of L’ou com balla of Barcelona is not certain, it is believed that it could have been a simple entertainment of nobles while they waited for the Corpus Christi procession. Entertainment that, on the other hand, could have been transmitted by an Italian Dominican friar who would have adapted it from the Italian court tradition L’uovo che danzava in the times of Alfonso the Magnanimous. There are also those who say that the gardeners, in a moment of boredom, discovered that the empty eggs of the geese had that property that seemed like a beautiful water dance.

Great symbolism in the festival of L'ou com balla

Picnic in the Vineyards



A trip to the wine village of Alella to visit and taste wines from the cellars of the D.O Alella.

L'ou com balla tradiciones

Today, the tradition has spread to other Catalan towns and other corners of the same city of Barcelona. Among those corners, apart from the Cathedral of Barcelona already mentioned, we can mention: the Pueblo Español of Barcelona, the Federic Marès Museum, the Parish of Santa Ana, the House of the Archdeacon, the Ateneo Barcelonés, the Real Academia de las Buenas Letras de Barcelona and the Parish of the Purísima Concepción. In reference to the other Catalan towns, we must name: the Cathedral of Tarragona (in the fountain of the cloister), in the Palacio Maricel in Sitges, and also in Igualada, Manresa or Vic.

L'ou com balla a Cataluña
L'ou com balla tradiciones catalanas

The magic of simplicity and charm sparkles year after year in this celebration of L’ou com balla, we invite you to witness it and enjoy a different dance, full of symbolism and fascination.

Cautivating folk culture in L'ou com balla


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