More than 600 years of history
The Patum is a traditional festival whose roots probably go back to the last third of the 14th century, related with the celebration of Corpus Christi. However, the first written reference we have of the Corpus celebrations in Berga dates from 1454. The Patum would originally have been interludes that were enacted during the Corpus Christi processions and whose purpose was to educate the people and improve their morals, recreating teachings from the Holy Scriptures. However, as time went by, these interludes took on an identity of their own and became popular, not as spiritual guidance but as entertainment. They gradually lost their original meaning and finally, only the more festive parts of the performances remained. The mood of the people following the processions became progressively more boisterous, particularly during the period before the procession started and after it had ended. Eventually, the celebration became a series of festive performances that made up the Revelry (Bulla in Catalan) of the Holy Sacrament, the old name of the festivity which was replaced by that of the Patum during the 19th century. The same process took place in other towns and villages in Catalonia. However, with the prohibitions imposed by the civil, ecclesiastic and royal powers, few of these festivities survived the Council of Trent (1563) and even the interludes themselves were doomed to extinction by the restrictive regulations issued in the 18th century. Among all the old Revelries of the Holy Sacrament that used to take place in Catalonia, only the town of Berga has been able to preserve it intact through the centuries. This is the Patum.