The first midsummer fire on Canigou in modern times was lit on 23 June 1955 by Francois Poujade and fellow USAP rugby fanatics – both to celebrate his birthday and Perpignan’s victory over FC Lourdes in the Yves du Manoir Challenge cup.
No event in the Catalan calendar is more important than Els Focs de la Sant Jean or The Fires of St John, our mid-summer rites held on the region’s sacred mountain, Canigou (2,784 metres), and in towns and villages right across Catalonia.
Gégants are enormous painted figures, several metres tall, constructed on a wooden framework with heads made from paper maché and plaster of paris – a tradition which goes back to the Middle Ages, depicting religious figures in parades.
Taking place on or around 23rd April each year, a date linked to literature and popular tradition, the festival of Sant Jordi celebrates the Patron saint of Catalonia, French equivalent of St George, a Christian Roman soldier, who was martyred around 303AD for refusing to renounce Christianity
The Easter Omelette, or ‘Omelette Pascale is more than just a recipe in Catalonia – it’s a whole tradition!
According to legend, Napoleon Bonaparte was travelling across southern France with his army, when he first tasted an omelette prepared for him at an inn near Bessières. He was so impressed that he had a giant omelette made for his troops the very next day. What a nice man!
Goigs dels Ous A tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, the “goigs dels ous” (or “joie des oeufs” in French) are traditional Easter songs; ancient hymns sung by choirs in traditional Catalan costume,…
It is difficult not to notice the donkey ranking high among the animals of the Pyrénées-Orientales.
Traditional Calçotadas take place In February and March. Down as many of these tasty onions as your tummy will allow, dipped in sauces and usually served up with BBQ, live music, sardanes……