Secrets of the Castle
Almorratxa dance (Maresma’s national dance), one of the national Catalan traditions, is closely connected with the history of the Castle. Although this dance is popular in other parts of Spain, for example in Seville, initially it appeared in Lloret de Mar. Almorratxa is a cone-shaped vase of clear glass with a fluted vertical design. Almorratxa has four small beaks and neck in centre. Almorratxas first appeared in Spain thanks to the Muslim conquerors, which promoted the development glass-blowing in Spain. Olive oil, perfumes and floral water (mainly rosewater) were stored in these vases.
Every year on 23rd of July the Almorratxa Ball is being held on the Costa Brava. During the Ball each couple holds Almorratxa vase filled with flowers. This colourful event traditionally attracts many visitors. The same annual Ball is also being held in Maresme on the 25th of January. However, during this ball girls dance alone and each holds Almorratxa filled with rose water. During the dance girls pours water on the ground.
In 1892, in the “Renaissance”, which is focused on Catalan language, culture and law, was published a study of Dr. Maria Serra dedicated to the national tradition of Almorratxa dance. According to this tradition a man asks a girl (who has to agree even if she has no wish for it) to dance. After a few steps, she is “passed” to another young man, who also cannot refuse to dance. The dance continues till the pair stops near the table with Almorratxas filled with perfume – the pair is to buy it. The man gently sprinkles girl with perfume. The moment the vase is empty, girl breaks it to pieces. The young man is obliged to buy as many vases as the girl wants to break, even if the quantity of vases makes half a dozen, or more. According to the tradition the annual Ball was held on the 29th of July during the celebration of St. Peter’s Day in Canet de Mar.
A beautiful legend is associated with the origin of the ball. One day, when Spain was ruled by the Moors, in a castle, located on the Costa del Levante (today known as the Costa del Maresme), located in Catalonia, lived a noble Christian family. They had only one daughter, whose beauty won hearts of all noble young men of the province. The girl had a strong decision to devote her life to God and no wealth could break this connection. At that time in the province lived one young and rich Moor, who decided to propose to Spanish beauty. However the girl refused his proposal, since he practised another religion. His feelings were so strong that he could not leave them behind. During one reception the young man appeared accompanied by his entourage. He wanted to impress the girl. With a sure step he went to his beloved, bent the knee, gave the lady an amphora filled with perfumed water. In front of everybody he made a declaration of love and proposed to her. Without saying anything the girl looked at him disdainfully and broke up the amphora. Insulted he left the castle. His shame was so huge that he didn’t dare to leave his home in Spain until he left to Africa.
Although Maria Serra doesn’t name the place of origin of this tradition, this information can be fond in another historical literature. For example, Mr. Pellicer de Mataro and Don Magee Sykes in their works suggest that the legend took place in the old house Domus de Canet, which is now the St. Florentina’s Castle.
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