What is the comparsa of Giants and their Entourage?
Many cities have got their own Giants. But perhaps there are none better than those of Pamplona (without false modesty!). They are four enormous pairs -each pair is a king and queen- and they are about four metres in height. They represent “the four parts of the world”: Europe, Africa, Asia, and America. (It seems that they didn’t know Oceania).
They are not very old – they were made in 1860 to substitute others which had become run down. So they continue a tradition whose roots have been lost in time past. They are made of a light wooden structure and richly dressed in elegant clothing. The bearer enters from behind and lifts the structure onto his shoulders. These “Kings and Queens” also have an entourage. There are five “cabezudos” who accompany them, made up of a Mayor, A Councillor, A Grandmother and two Japanese figures. There is also an entourage of six “kilikis” who are there to “protect” the Royalty. These figures have a name, Barbas, Patata, Verrugón, Coleta, Caravinagre and Napoleon. To complete the entourage there are six “zaldikos” – half-men, half-horse- who also sometimes take it into their heads to “attack” any innocent young children along the route.
These “kilikis” carry paper-foil rods and their favourite pastime is chasing after any young children who line the route to see the Giants. If the glasses of your daughter or son are broken by one of those kilikis don´t worry about it. There is a special insurance for these cases. You have to talk to the head of the comparsa and reclaim from the City Council. It seems to be very usual. Any kiddie up to the age of six or seven is their prey and their grim paper-maché faces have given nightmares to many generations of toddlers in Pamplona.
What they do?
This entourage is known as the “Comparsa” and it can be seen at various times of the day parading in the streets, surrounded by children, parents, grandparents and the crowd in general, all dancing to the sound of the “gaita (dulzaina)” and the “ttun-ttun”. A group of “ttunttuneros” accompanies the darkest of all the queens, maintaining the presence in the “comparsa” of the oldest of its instruments. The giants usually dance: waltzes, polkas and jotas. From their height of four metres, it’s quite a sight to see.
They also take part in most of the official functions, such as the Procession, The “Txupinazo” etc. Check the official program to find out when they are in the streets.