In the 12th century, Catalans already had a well developed sense of identity and pride
Each year, the Ermitage de la Saint Ferréol bursts with life with the annual Festa Major. Tradition, religion, food and drink… it’s a firm favourite with the locals.
The 11th September, the Diada de Catalunya, is a national holiday throughout Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
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.
Today the term is also used for more popular get-togethers such as the meeting of dancers to perform the sardane.
Music for the sardane is played by a cobla, a wind band with double bass consisting of 12 instruments played by 11 musicians. Four of these instruments (tenora, tible, flabiol and tamborí) are typical Catalan instruments along with the more traditional trumpet, trombone, fiscorn and double bass. The makeup of a cobla never varies.
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
Once upon a time, rival bands of young people released their pent up energy by competing against each other in feats of strength and agility.
No guns, no knives.
The Pyrénées-Orientales is officially Catalan country – Pays Catalan – and the locals have a strong cultural identity with a unique language, cuisine and spirit. You will have seen the red and gold Catalan flag everywhere but how well do you know Catalan culture and traditions? Take our quiz and find out.
You may already know that the donkey is the symbol of Catalonia, French and Spanish, whilst the bull is the unofficial national symbol of Spain, but do you know how it all started?