THE WIDE, OPEN VALLEY
La Cerdanya is an expansive area of the Pyrenees. This great valley unfolds between the walls of Cadí, the tall mountainside of El Carlit, and El Puigpedrós in the broad basin of the River Segre, where the treasures of its cultural heritage are hidden among the gentle hills of the plain. The villages of La Cerdanya zealously cling to their mountain culture with the older inhabitants (els padrins) being especially reluctant to let it die out.
Under a dazzling sun, whose light silhouettes the valley throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset, La Cerdanya will seduce visitors with its truly Pyrenean character. Perched in La Solana (the shade), on a ledge, above the plain and the River Segre, the village of Prullans is already getting ready for Christmas. During the bank holiday of La Puríssima (Immaculate Conception) visitors will be able to enjoy the Fira del Pessebre (Nativity Scene Fair) which celebrates the traditions surrounding crib making. However, the highlight of this event has to be the choral representation of the Pessebre Vivent (Living Nativity Scene). Watching the villagers perform, on a cold evening in the Pyrenees, will certainly get visitors into the Christmas spirit.
Not to be missed
Fira del Pessebre de Prullans, over the long weekend of La Puríssima
(Immaculate Conception Bank Holiday).
Visitors will also come across the little village of Bellver, which is an enclave of mountain culture. At the Aplec de Talló (Gathering of Talló), which is held every Easter Monday, they will be treated to a performance of a traditional courting dance that has been faithfully handed down from one generation to the next, over many years. Around the statue of the Mare de Déu de Talló (Our Lady of Talló) boys and girls, young men and young women, and also some adults, pair off, as they have done since they were small, to dance a corranda: a type of dance that, over time, has spread to other villages and townships in the comarca (local district) of La Cerdanya. In this way, the true character of Bellver is laid bare for all to see. For Carnival, the village leaves behind such solemnity and throws itself into a traditional style of celebration in which its streets are invaded by mythological beings filled with a kind of ancestral spirit. Every year, the village reaffirms its devotion to its mountain culture on 10th August, at the Fira de Sant Llorenç (St Lawrence Fair), with the medieval square filling with stalls selling home-grown and home-made produce. Then, for a whole day, the stone walls of the old quarter are permeated by the smell of cheeses, sausages and all kinds of products made by local artisans. It is also with this old-world style market as a backdrop that Bellver holds its annual Festival Trama de Músiques de muntanya d’Europa (European Mountain Music Festival). For one unforgettable week, the music that unites the villages of the region fills the squares, the streets and every corner of the surrounding countryside. In October, as the serenity of autumn returns to the valley, Bellver is taken over by the Fira Ramadera, (Livestock Fair) and its splendid competition to find the best vaca bruna (Pyrenean brown cow). This is a time when the oldest families in La Cerdanya come together once more to remember the important role that farm animals have played in their respective histories. Visitors will get a chance to see their devotion to their cattle, flocks and herds when they join in the celebrations of Sant Antoni de Bellver and Prullans. This is an opportunity for the people of La Cerdanya, of all ages, to parade their best horses and to end the afternoon with meals of fraternity that are a true celebration of community.
Aplec de Talló de Bellver de Cerdanya;
Carnestoltes Tradicional de Bellver de Cerdanya
(Traditional Carnival of Bellver de Cerdanya).
Fira de Sant Llorenç and Mercat de Productes Alimentaris del Pirineu (Market of Pyrenean Food Products) of Bellver;
Festival Trama de Músiques de Muntanya d’Europa, at Bellver;
from 10th August.
Fira Ramadera de Bellver de Cerdanya;
Festa de Sant Antoni de Prullans i Bellver;
The La Cerdanya of lasting traditions is also on display at the Ball de les Rentadores de Riu, (River Washerwomen’s Dance) and at the Festa Major de Sant Joan (Main Festival in honour of St John). In a battle of water, songs and dance, young boys and girls from the village are tasked with doing the laundry at the safareig (communal laundry area). Visitors will also be invited to take part in the dancing, in the midst of a water fight, and the laughter that ensues will make it clear to them that, in La Cerdanya, the sunshine and the waters of the River Segre are the keystones of a tradition and a way of life that has remained strong since time immemorial.
Ball de les Rentadores de Riu de Cerdanya
and Festa Major de Sant Joan.