Tossa’s Vow

According to tradition, the bubonic plague swooped on Tossa in the 15th century and the population asked Saint Sebastian to help them to get rid of this terrible illness, promising to go for ever an ever every year on a pilgrimage to the next chapel consecrated to this saint.

The plague disappeared and the citizens carried out their vow. Some years later they asked the Church for a special permit to be able to send one only man standing for the whole village to carry out the pilgrimage as far as the Saint Sebastian Chapel located in Santa Coloma de Farners, at 40 km distance from Tossa. The Church agreed and this is how Tossa’s Pilgrim was born and it has continued up to our days.

Since then, every 20th January, the “Pare Pelegrí” (Father Pilgrim), standing for the whole village, and all those people who wish to accompany him, walk as far as the Saint Sebastian Chapel in Santa Coloma and come back to Tossa the next day.  When they arrive, there is a very emotive procession through the village’s old quarter, passing by the walled enceinte -which is lit by fire torches-, and finishing at the parish church of Saint Vincent.

This is a much respected tradition by the local population, as well as an act of faith and religious devotion. Most of the people who accompany the Pilgrim do it in accomplishment of a personal promise, and a lot of them walk all the way barefooted. Those who wish to join, believers or not, are asked to be respectful with the tradition and the rest of the pilgrims, and not to confuse it with a festive event or a march, which is not at all the spirit of this pilgrimage.

“Toquen a córrer, ses nou sardanes”

“Ses nou sardanes” is a typical local dance, precedent of the sardana as it is known today, commemorating a local legend according to which Notre Dame de Bon Secours run down the street chasing the devil, who was taking away with him a little boy from Tossa called Xixanet.

This dance alternates nine short sardanas with the “toquen a córrer”, a sort of gallop danced up and down the Socors Street by groups of two women and one man, until the music stops and a new sardana starts. This is repeated up to nine times. The dance is completed with a waltz.

This tradition is celebrated on the 2nd July.