The Patum de Berga (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈtum də ˈβɛrɣə]), or simply La Patum, is a popular and traditional festival that is celebrated each year in the Catalan city of Berga during Corpus Christi. It consists of a series of "dances" (balls) by townspeople dressed as mystical and symbolical figures, and accompanied either by the rhythm of a drum—the tabal, whose sound gives the festival its name—or band music. The balls are marked by their solemnity and their ample use of fire and pyrotechnics.
It was declared a Traditional Festival of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1983, and as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
"La Patum" has its origins in pre-Christian celebrations of the Summer solstice, which were recycled and given new symbolism by the Catholic Church as part of its Corpus celebrations. In Berga, the earliest conserved reference to a Corpus procession is May 20, 1454. The festival evolved and incorporated more elements popular and religious theater in the Middle Ages, leading to a unique combination of giants, devils, angels, moors, and other bizarre-looking characters.
Despite the religious significance of Corpus Christi, and the Patum's descent from "eucharistic performances," in its present form it is rather a show of popular theater. It is unique in Catalonia