The birth of the phylloxera celebration must be placed in the context of the push, from 1979, that the democratic town halls in Catalonia gave the retake of festivals and traditions. The rediscovery of the street as a place of celebration made possible through the eighties that many municipalities regain street festivals such as Carnival or releases the giants, dragons and devils of gangs, among other elements of popular culture.
Another aspect to take into account is the tradition of the fire festival, as devils or dragon, around the Penedès region, one of the Catalan counties where there is more wealth and variety of these elements. In Sant Sadurní, this tradition was not there, but this did not suppose a problem so it allows the birth and the consolidation of this celebration around the historical event, the phylloxera plague, which, born from zero, was able to develop freely without any condition.
In this frame arose in Sant Sadurní the idea of creating an element of fire which could be representative of the town. It was proposed that this animal was the phylloxera. It was an innovation of the great Catalan bestiary, and also an animal closely very linked with the history of Sant Sadurní. Although at this time the existence of phylloxera and what it supposed for Sant Sadurní were little known to new generations. The proposal was launched when the Fair Commission, the body responsible for the main local festive feasts/parties ("Fires i Festes" that is celebrated in early September) contacted with the local artistic collective Workshop.
This was the group of people, with the contribution of volunteers, not only built the phylloxera, but from the first year raised some fundamental lines that had marked the future of the party.
The idea shared for the City Hall and the Fairs Commission was that the phylloxera can be an element that gave a distinctive feature at fairs, able to create an atmosphere in the parades or to act alone. But this raising was superseded by the intent of the driving force nucleus to do at about the phylloxera, a representative show of an episode in the town history and lead to a "party" or "thread of the day" for Fairs, somewhat modeled as the Patum of Berga. This was the starting point from which the Feast of the phylloxera created a clearly defined identity as we never stop taken as a reference the local history and that was carefully integratd in each new element, consistent with the party.
Thus, the first festive phylloxera in St. Sadurní had its baptism of fire on September the 6th in 1981, in a morning parade. The same day, a few hours later, it participated in the traditional parade of the "Fires i Festes", along with the usual elements of such party: giants, big heads, stick dancers, etc.
The first Festival of phylloxera
The following year, 1982, under the impulse of the people in the workshop and their collaborators, became the first edition of the show called the phylloxera show, led by the phylloxera, the grapevines and dancing farmers, which were only the two first elements of fire.
Although these elements have changed over the years, others have been added as the Giants, and changed aspects such as choreography, costumes, fireworks or lighting. Can be said that the current structure of the phylloxera celebration is very similar to the first edition. The three elements of music, for example, are the same ones. Also the first edition of the party was already at Church Square on September the 8th, and has made every year on this date since there.
The incorporation of new elements
After years of continuity, they see an increasing interest of the people in Sant Sadurní, the promoters of the initiative, they adopted the name of the Phylloxera Commission, wanted to make the most of it, promoted by the City Hall, the Centennial of the phylloxera and Cava drink (1887) to present a restructuring of the phylloxera party through a program that affects all elements of the party, music, etc.. During the "Fires i Festes" (Fairs) in 1987 was presented the first result of this project, which was the group of 30 small phylloxeras. This was a big and important change in all the party, not just by his presence at the show, where they appeared next to the big phylloxera, but because they appear in the first act of the party, when the small phylloxeras scattered, that takes place on September the 7th, in the evening, after the firework. In 1987 was also the adoption of the name of phylloxera party. In subsequent years, the renewal and updating of the phylloxera celebration continued in 1989 with the replacement of homemade grapevines for some others made of fiberglass. In 1990 a new phylloxera was made, the current one.
In 1992 the celebration was an important step in the birth of the children’s phylloxera. The drummers took part, the giant from Sant Sadurní and the bagpipe players. The structure of this event also evolved over the years, with the presence of entertainment groups or with the costumes that were made by children a few days before when they were participating in some workshops. Finally, this radically transformed with the gradual incorporation of phylloxera elements in versions for children: a phylloxera, a group of small phylloxeras, a group of grapevines, different groups of farmers and another element: the larvae.
Regarding to the big festival, in 1993 began to incorporate, yearly, the Giants that had to build the group of Seven wise of Greece. The first giants been established were the Group of Seven Sages of Greece. The first ones were Manuel Raventos and Marc Mir, the two main characters during the phylloxera years in Sant Sadurní. In the following editions, joined the group: Anthoni EScayola (1995), Frank Romeo (1996), modest Casanovas (1997), Pere Rovira (1998) and Rafael Mir, that in 1999 completed the group.
The Association of the Phylloxera Celebration
The desire of the celebration creators of putting solid foundations and stable as it were new people coming to the Association, without altering the substance with it was born, drove the need to establish itself as in association, in July 1995.