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Castells Competition Builds Human Castles in the Sky


If you thought the gravity defying feats your college cheerleading squad performed were awe-inspiring, we can probably agree the 22nd Tarragona Castells Competition in Tarragona, Spain was breathtaking.

The annual human towers or castells (a Catalonian word that means "castles") event took place this weekend, drawing spectators from across the globe and some very nimble participants.

The competition is a bit of a cultural phenomenon — the tradition originated at the end of the 18th century in Valls, Tarragona, when rival groups of people called colles turned creating different kinds of human towers into a competitive sport, according to Castellers de Barcelona.

The last person to climb the whole tower is the anxaneta, a young girl or boy who, on arriving at the very summit raises his or her arm and salutes the public. This is the highlight of the event and the crowing moment for the castell.

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