Last friday, when I just stepped into the local casteller the Cap de Colla tackled me:

— Hey Marc — he greeted me, while he was pointing to some fellow companions who were rolling a kids’ rehearsal in the middle of the room. — This is “fer pinya”. And that — then he pointed to the technical commission (I guess i talked about them once)— is “fer UNA pinya” or “fer LA pinya”.

Then I looked at him like the dog who looks a man teaching him to play catch. And then he told me again:

— I tell you because you mistook the difference between “to do pinapple” and “to do A pinapple”.

This is a template for a "three" pinya. Castellers in the technical team put the names of the people in the squares, to set them up in every place. PHOTO: Birreiros
This is a template for a “three” pinya. Castellers in the technical team write the names of the castellers in the squares, to set them up in their  place in the pinya. PHOTO: Birreiros

Gosh that killed me. I mean, Martí, our cap de colla is a nice guy and I am very open to critics but what I actually didn’t understood until then is the real importance of casteller lingo within Castells. Martí was just opening my eyes, so I have to thank him for that. I mean it. Thanks Martí.

I am brand new in castells, I have to say that. I started with the colla at the beginning of September, just before the Diada of Sabadell fiestas (Diada de Festa Major) and I earned my shirt (one day I will talk about that) on late October, just before our Diada (Diada dels Castellers de Sabadell). I have been always interested in Castells, but I have never had the opportunity to be in a colla until now. And I am gladly liking it very much.

But the lingo kills me.

Short after that, I was discussing with another fellow of the colla about an article released at El Vapor, a local news website recently established who published an interview of Martí, our Cap de Colla, and accidental master of mine. At the beginning of that article my colleagues from El Vapor Diari wrote that “Els Saballuts (the nickname of the Castellers de Sabadell, and I guess that now that we are talking about lingo I found it more than appropiate to say that my next post will be a compilation of the nicknames of all the colles) started their trainings…”. This friend of mine who I was talking to was angry about that:

— We don’t train, we rehearse! The only colla who trains is the Colla Castellera Jove de Barcelona and they had the rest of the casteller community looking at them over the shoulder because they say that they are doing a sport and not following a tradition!

“Fer pinya”, “fer una pinya” or “fer la pinya”, “entrenar” (to train), “assajar” (to rehearse)… Definitely lingo is something that defines a whole activity. Somehow somebody could think that all of it is just rubbish. You can say “Does it really matters if it is ‘fer la pinya’ or ‘fer una pinya’?” or  “Is it something absolutely different training than rehearsing?” or even “Are you really telling me that rubbish worths a discussion?”.


On one hand I really think that these, er, “things” have become a real border for those non-introduced in the fantastic world of castells. For instance: journalists who don’t have time to check if castellers really train or rehearse. Or the common people. Casteller lingo is harsh, and we are not only talking about the difference between a “rengla”, a “vent”, a 3d8 or a 4d7. It’s the way you use it.

Although, in the other hand we can say that the same way that in rugby there are no goals or touchdowns but tries, castellers don’t train but rehearse. Except if you are from Colla Castellera Jove de Barcelona, they do train.

Lingo, my friends. If you want to understand castells, you definitely have to understand lingo. And this is why I am for.

Oh, yes. And the difference between “fer pinya” and “fer una pinya” is that “fer pinya” is to roll the castell and make the base, and “fer una pinya” or “fer la pinya” is to manage who is going in each position in the pinya. So you know now!

5 thoughts on “Lingo”

  1. There is a saying in catalan that nails it:
    “El nom fa la cosa”, poorly translated “The name makes the thing”.
    In other words, the name is more than a mere description of a thing, is a part of it, and also conformed it. By changing the terminology you alter the whole concept of human towers , the whole “fet casteller”. A concept that you can try to explain in a new post. 😉

    1. Omg. If I had to explain the whole “fet casteller” in an only post… I think that this is something people can only understood by experience. I already said that one of the reasons I started this blog is to help people overseas to set their own colles and get a broader knowledge of the “fet casteller”.

    1. English, please.

      And I was just making some fun about casteller lingo based on the fact that you guys (and here I guess you’re a member of Jove de Barcelona) train.

      Sense of humor…

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