If 15 minutes of TV news watching has left you doubting humanity’s ability to work together toward achieving a common goal, Spain’s human tower competition might just change your mind.
Every other October, hundreds of people in Tarragona, Spain come together to form castells — Catalan for the word “castles” — that reach more than 30 feet into the Spanish skies in a competition called the Concurs de Castells.
The event regularly draws in crowds of thousands, with the act of human tower building dating back to the early 18th century in Valls, a city in the Spanish region of Catalonia.
Traditionally, castellers — the people who form the towers — made the towers at the end of a folk dance. Over time, teams of castellers started competing against one another in an attempt to build the highest, most complicated tower. The tradition slowly separated from its dancing roots yet still retained some of its elements, such as orça, equilibri, valor i seny, or strength, balance, courage and common sense. By the 19th century, the tradition had spread across Catalonia.