Giants and Big-headed Puppets

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At midday the deafening bang of fireworks mix with the roll of the drums while thousands of people, gather around the Praça da República of Viana do Castelo to watch the Gigantones, the giants, and Cabeçudos, the big-headed puppets, as they put on a variety show. An age-old tradition of the Romaria d’ Agonia that delights young and old alike.

The groups of Zés P’reiras exhibit their art and the remarkable strength of their arms, accompanied by the gigantones and cabeçudos. Together they are also the life of the show. The gigantones are crafted with paper paste and are then hand-painted. They are made with an iron frame and can measure up to four meters in height weighing roughly 30 kilos, and together with the cabeçudos dance in a clumsy manner in perfect harmony.

This event which has become quite an attraction and lures thousands of spectators, sometimes packs in 200 drum players and two dozen figures, all around the fountain, all showing off their best in just a few minutes of performance.

Such a performance has to end in jubilation and exaltation as drummers and bag pipers compete against each other before an ecstatic audience.