"El Marraco, without a doubt, has become one of the icons of the Lleida festival, a mysterious and fantastic element that helps boys and girls take a symbolic step when they are getting older, with the delivery of pacifiers to the giant beast when it appears in the streets of Lleida", explains José Córdoba when sharing this photograph in La Vanguardia's Readers' Photos.
According to the Lleida City Council, the Marraco is a fantastic and malevolent being whose objective is to scare children so that they behave well. It is a legend that is commonly used in Catalan-speaking territories. Invoking the Marraco is the equivalent of invoking the Coco in Spanish-speaking territories.
This magical beast is not only known in Lleida, but originally in the Maestrazgo and Menorca, adults already used this evil being as a method to scare children and ensure that they behaved well.
In 1907, a group of Lleida residents together with the Republican mayor at that time, Manuel Soldevila Carrera, decided to give life to this legend, turning it into a cultural symbol of the city's festivities.
The first Marraco was shaped like a dragon and moved thanks to a group of men affiliated with the city council who carried it and walked it through the streets.
The purpose of giving body to this monster was to pretend that it swallowed children through its mouth and spit them out through its tail, it worked like a slide.
The Marraco has not always been like the image we see today, but has gone through many variations of materials, designs, colors and ways of functioning.
Currently, the iconic image of this fantastic being is an adaptation of the model made by the sculptor and painter Joan Miró in 1933.