If you thought that the phenomenon of ‘castells’ (human towers) was a purely Catalan pastime, you are in for a surprise. The ‘colla castellera’ (human tower club) Xiquets de Hangzhou from China paid a visit to FC Barcelona on Tuesday, taking in the Camp Nou Experience. The director Pau Vilanova was the man handed with the responsibility of welcoming the group to Barça’s home and presenting them with a blaugrana shirt. The Chinese practitioners of this particularly local tradition gave a demonstration of their skills with a ‘pilar de cinc’, a five man pillar, in front of the main stand entrance, much to the interest of bystanders at the stadium,.
The Xiquets took part last weekend in a traditional human tower competition, (Concurs de Castells) that took place in the Plaça Tarraco in the city of Tarragona in Catalonia. The Chinese group gave a great account of themselves, completing a particularly difficult nine person high tower known as a ‘tres de nou amb folre’.
The Xiquets de Hangzhou was borne out of an idea from the Chinese textile businessman Qian Anhua after a trip to Catalonia in 2009. He decided then to import the Catalan tradition to his textile plant as a team building activity for its employees. The ‘castellers’ began their contact with the world of human towers thanks to the visit of the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls, a human tower club from the south of Catalonia, to Shanghai, China during the International Exposition. Since then the two clubs have maintained very strong links.