The base of the tower, or “la pinya” is the foundation upon which the structure is built. Though it looks chaotic here, each casteller who is part of the base has a very specific role to play. La pinya can be comprised of several hundred people in the larger castel-building events.
A castel can have many different configurations, ranging from single person stories to multiple castellers for each story of the tower being built.
The Empire State Building provided an impressive backdrop for the Castellers de Vilafranca, just one of several iconic locations where they will build their human towers in New York City this week.
Typically, sturdier castellers form the lower stories of the tower, as they can bear more weight and the structure has more stability if it's not top-heavy.
Children are an integral part of the castel-building team, and the youngest castellers are the ones who climb to the top of the tower, forming the pom de dalt, or the tower's crown.
Music is an important element of castel-building, and the tunes played signify encouragement, the different stages of building, and completion of the tower.
Every aspect of the tradition of castel-building is important: from the music played to the uniforms worn. Each castel-building group has its own distinct uniform; the Castellers de Vilafranca wear green shirts, white pants, and red bandanas. They also wear a black waist wrap that serves two functions: provides lumbar support to the wearer and a foothold for the climber.
Upon completing the tower, the person who is the crown waves a handkerchief, flag, or banner to signal its completion.
Castellers de Vilafranca, a professional human-tower building team from Catalonia, put on a show on a rooftop bar with the Empire State Building as the dramatic backdrop. See full story here.