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?
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, signaling a return…
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!
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……