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Hello, today is Sunday, July 14th, 2024 







Fira del Vi- Wine Fair in Falset:

18th Wine Fair - Falset 4, 5 and 6 May 2013

la cuina de falsetAll set for popular and professional tastings this weekend, with sixty exhibitors. The wineries in Priorat and Montsant arrive at the 18th Wine Fair Falset with the satisfaction of having a great year in terms of marketing their wines. The wineries in the Priorat sold more than 4 million bottles in 2012, up by 8% on 2011, while the cellars of the DO Montsant exceeded 5 million bottles, which is the third best season in their history.

These data demonstrate, once again, the quality of the wines produced in the region is an argument strong enough to cope with the poor economic situation that exists in Spain and internationally.

Falset Wine Fair (Show of DO wines from the region of Priorat) has now entered its decisive week, and the events take place every day. Today we present the Club Castle Wine Tasting Falset that seeks to establish itself as a key area in the wine region of Priorat. However, the majority of events and wineries and wine stalls on the street Miquel Barceló Falset will take place this Saturday and Sunday (4 and  5 May) between 11 am and 9 pm.

La Cuina del ViOn Sunday, May 5, from 11 am at the Placa de Quartera will be a new contest Cuisine Wine. Its purpose is to publicize and promote dishes of the region, where one of the main ingredients is wine. Open to all professional chefs and / or previously registered fans. Participants can be chefs or they can form a team, maximum 4 people.

More details on:



delta oysters


L'Ampolla Oyster festival

Plus Gastronomic days 4th to 19th May with the main day being May the 5th at the harbour 12.30pm.

Selected restaurants from the town will have special menus from the 4th until the 19th May click here for the brochure



Propera edició: 09/05/2013a 19/05/2013

Come to Tarragona and live in history. Simultaneously with the arrival of the Romans in 218 BC Empúries, Tarraco was founded as a winter base for the main Roman armies in Hispania. Later he was granted the status of colony of Roman law in 27 BC and was the capital of the province of Tarragona in the new provincial organization of the Emperor Augustus. The city had walls with cave paintings and network facilities of drinking water supply, public forum at Palco main temples and buildings with administrative and judicial, to celebrate theatrical games, a circus for chariot races and an amphitheater for gladiator fights and hunts. We also had public baths as a meeting place and recreation.

These days Tàrraco regaining the vitality, the public can enjoy first-rate historical recreations and a trip to the past: legions, cavalry, Gladiators, religion (the worship of the goddess Isis), workshop and conferences, theater, food, music and dance and many more activities! becomes Tarraco Tarragona for a few days a year and these days we can visit the past. Enjoy it! For more information:

Program of events click here>>


Our Articles On What's On From Previous Years Issues Can Be Found below

1st May
Tossa de Mar Cruces de Mayo (Each Friday).
Roses Fiestas de Roses (Each Friday)
3rd May
Figueres Cruces de Mayo (Each Friday)
7th May
Salomo Ball del Sant Crist
Ulldecona La Passión
Esparreguera La Pasión
Sant Quintinde Mediona Sant Antoni de les
Amer Festividad del Roser
LLoret de Mar Aplec de Sardanas
11th May
Badalona Fiesta de Sant Anastasi
Ripoll Festa de la Llana y Casamen a Pagés
14th May
Salomo Ball del Sant Crist (Salomó)
Ulldecona La Pasió
Corbera de LLobregat Aplec de san Ponc
San Feliu de LLobregat Fiestas de Sant Feliu de
15th May
Alcanar Fiestas de Mayo
Tarragona Corpus Christi
Barcelona Corpus Christi
Berga La Patum (Corpus Christi)
Capellades Festes del Carrer (Corpus Christi)
Sallent Enramades
Sant Sadurni D'Anoia La Fiesta dels Barris
Sitges Fiestas de Sitges
Arbucies Corpus Christi

18th May
Gombren Fiesta de los Abuelos
20th May
Salomo Ball de Sant Crist
El Port de La Selva Fiesta de Sant Baldiri
27th May
Salomo Ball del Sant Crist
Talamanca Festa del Terme
31st May
Gombren Festa del Comú

The Year of the Dragon

Astrology is part of Chinese life. In Chinese astrology dragon people excel. The dragon Chinese zodiac year is special.
Many people are looking forward to the Chinese zodiac year of 2012.
Astrology is so important to the Chinese and the Chinese year of the dragon is so special.
Think about the dragon!
In Chinese astrology the dragon is the only animal of the Chinese zodiac year that is not real.
In Chinese astrology the dragon is quite special and very much revered.
The dragon holds special significance for the Chinese people.
More than 4,000 years ago, there were two large tribes and many smaller tribes in China. The tribes had animals as emblems. The two large tribes unified and chose the dragon as their symbol. In fact, the Han Chinese still call themselves the descendants of the Dragon.
In Chinese astrology the dragon was seen as a powerful almighty king because it was made up of different parts of animals such as a tiger, fish, snake and an eagle.
The Chinese dragon was not seen as a threatening evil being as we do in the west - rather a symbol of power, superiority and rule.
Still today, the Dragon is a revered symbol. You can see many sculptures and carvings of the dragon. Even today, the Chinese associate the dragon with power and wisdom.
In Chinese astrology a dragon person is special. Born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon they usually stand out as befits a dragon. They are powerful and wise.
In a group of people, "the Chinese Year of the Dragon person" stands out. There is a certain aura about them.
They certainly are not shy – they demand attention and respect. The dragon is a symbol of power.
Therefore in Chinese astrology the dragon person born under this Chinese Zodiac sign tends to be a "doer" – they do things and achieve power by getting things done.
A dragon can breathe out fire so the person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon can be a hothead. Watch out if you make them angry!
However, the dragon has a soft underbelly and so in Chinese astrology the dragon person born in this Chinese Zodiac year has a "soft spot" to them. They may get angry at someone who annoys them but they also show great compassion to people in need.
A dragon has a long tongue which is often seen. So in Chinese astrology the dragon person born in this Chinese Zodiac year has a sharp tongue –they will say things that can be quite sarcastic and biting.
The person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon can be quite a confronting person but if you can reach their "soft heart" they are worthwhile allies.






JAN 2009

Cabalgata los Reyes magos



MARCH 2009



La Passió d'Ulldecona


sant jordi april 23

april fool 2009

easter 2009






june 2009

fathers day june 21 2009


The Cherry Festival in Miravet 14 June 2009




“corpus christi Thursday June 11th 2009”


JUNE 2008








DEC 2010


DEc 5


Dec 2009

Dia de la Constitucion- National Holiday dec 6th


“immaculate festival & commemoration of the siege of 1640 in cambrils"



DEC 08










snow day in catalunya 8th January 2010

snow day in catalunya

snow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunya

The Burga Valley

snow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunya


snow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunya



pictures all taken in and around Tivissa on Saturday 9th Jan. Submitted by Jeff at Fincas Direct!

Below snow even near the coast in L'Ametlla 8th Jan.

snow day in catalunyasnow day in catalunya


November - birth flower is the chrysanthemum and the Zodiac sign is scorpio



Chrysanthema in Lahr -

An autumnal event unique in Germany
From 22th October to 13th November 2011. In autumn, the city of Lahr on the edge of the Black Forest has a chrysanthemum Festival that floods the idyllic city with colour.
This year, visitors will be able to participate in a major colour and music festival. Take part in an unforgettable guided tour of the city to discover the historic centre and its thousands of chrysanthemum arrangements that make the most of autumnal colours. Each year, over 300,000 visitors are absorbed in a bright yellow, blazing purple and intense orange floral show.
A walk through the city centre allows visitors to discover the chrysanthemums displayed in fascinating arrangements, on artistic flowered carts and in the form of original and rich cascades decorating house facades. A varied cultural and musical programme is on offer from Wednesday to Sunday on the Marktplatz, with well-known groups and unique performances.
The major Chrysanthema opening event will take place on 22th October 2011.

chrysanthemum scorpio

In Greek Mythology, the myths associated with Scorpio (Scorpius) almost invariably also contain a reference to Orion. One tale is that Orion was a giant who was a great hunter and very modest about his amazing skill. One day he fell in love with a princess of an island he was passing, but her father refused to let his daughter go and, thus, was determined to keep Orion away from the princess. The king did so by blinding Orion, thus not letting him hunt and amaze the woman. Orion travelled to the Sun which healed his eyes, and decided to kill the king (who later died during a war) and pursue his hunting. He became great friends with Artemis, who favoured Orion greatly for his modesty and superb skill at hunting. One day Apollo was jealous that the two were great friends, and sent a harsh scorpion at him and stung his heel. Artemis, furious with her brother, killed the scorpion and threatened to throw Delphi (Apollo's beloved city) into ruins if he did not apologize, which he hastily did. Zeus decided that Orion should be put in the stars, and the scorpion should always chase him; therefore, the constellation Orion appears in the winter, running away from the constellation of Scorpio which arrives in the summer...




APPLE DAYApple Day is an annual celebration, held on October 21 each year, of apples and orchards. It is celebrated mainly in the United Kingdom.

Apple Day was initiated by Common Ground in 1990 and has been celebrated in each subsequent year by people organizing hundreds of local events. Common Ground describe the day as a way of celebrating and demonstrating that variety and richness matter to a locality and that it is possible to effect change in your place. Common Ground has used the apple as a symbol of the physical, cultural and genetic diversity we should not let slip away. In linking particular apples with their place of origin, they hope that orchards will be recognized and conserved for their contribution to local distinctiveness, including the rich diversity of wild life they support.

Apple Day events can be large or small, from apple games in a garden to large village fairs with cookery demonstrations, games, apple identification, juice and cider, gardening advice, and of course many hundreds of apple varieties.

More recently Apple Day has evolved into a weekend event, usually taking place on the Saturday and Sunday closest to Oct. 21st although a number of venues now simply use the term Apple Day for their own events which can take place anywhere in the second half of October.

The first Apple Day was on October 21, 1990 in Covent Garden, London.


APPLE DAYHealth benefits from apples

We all know that old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away, but did you know that apples are fabulous for beautifying our complexions? They are! The alpha-hydroxy fruit acids in apples are the greatest for sloughing off old tired skin so the fresh skin underneath can be revealed, and their pectin firms and tightens saggy skin–as well as healing inflammations and smoothing fine wrinkles.

Apples are mentioned in ancient literature as magical fruits sacred to many goddesses. Now it's autumn and the apples are round and ripe, ready to be picked so you can be a Goddess of Beauty with their help. Find out apples' secrets here–and learn why they're also great for your teeth and breath!

APPLE FOR HEALTHFor Teeth and Breath
The pectin in apples helps to neutralize food odors, so the next time you have garlic or onions, have an apple for dessert! The fibres also serve as a natural dental floss.

Honey of an Apple Glow Mask
This one really wakes up a dull complexion and it's fun, too! This formula combines the magical apple with sweet honey, a great humectant–meaning it will bring moisture to your skin.
1/2 cored apple
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Pulse ingredients in a food processor, combining well. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Apply this mixture to a clean face. With your fingertips, begin gently patting your face. Continue until the mixture feels very, very sticky–this will bring the blood to the surface of your skin, making it glow. Rinse with warm water.

To Reduce Wrinkles and Inflammation
Grate an unripe apple and apply to clean skin to heal and improve the appearance of fine wrinkles or inflammation. Allow pulp to remain on skin for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

APPLE FACE MASKOily Skin/Acne Healing Mask
Mix equal parts grated raw apple (or unsweetened applesauce) and honey. Apply mixture to a clean face and allow to remain on skin for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

To Reduce Eye Puffiness
Mix 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce with one small grated raw potato. Lie down and apply to eyes, covering with a warm damp washcloth, if desired. Allow to remain on for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Autumn Magic Facial Mask
This formula soothes and nourishes skin and nerves, and provides gentle exfoliating action.
1/4 cored apple, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon rolled oats
1 teaspoon cream
1 teaspoon honey
Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Apply to clean face, massaging gently, and allow mixture to remain on skin for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.




grecgrecGREC Festival of barcelona 17 June - 31 July 2011

The Grec Festival of Barcelona is an international theatre, dance, music and circus festival. Over the course of its history, this long-standing event, which will take place for the thirty-fifth time in 2011, has become not only the major summer attraction in Barcelona, but also a date on the European performing arts calendar.

grecThe festival takes its name from of its main venue: an open-air theatre (the Teatre Grec) built on Mount Montjuïc for the 1929 Universal Exhibition. At first, this "Greek Theatre" was the only venue used for festival productions, but, today, the Grec programme embraces many other theatres, cultural facilities and public spaces all over the city of Barcelona.

The Grec Festival is promoted by Barcelona City Council, but no other public administrations are involved; instead, the shows are organised and produced by a large number of theatres and promoters.
The main sources of income for the festival are public grants, sponsorship and ticket sales. In 2010, a total of 101,181 tickets were sold for the events on the programme.

With a history stretching back thirty-five years, the Grec Festival of Barcelona has become the leading producer of shows in Catalonia. The festival pursues a two-fold mission: firstly, to stage the most outstanding works by Catalan artists and companies, providing them with support by producing their shows for performance at the festival; and, secondly, to present all the most interesting shows from Spain and the rest of the world every year.

grecIndeed, the Grec Festival is Catalonia's main showcase for works produced abroad, and in recent years the organisers have been keen to make the event more international, focusing on presenting the most innovative pieces from such countries as the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and France.

Moreover, since 2009, the organisers have worked with other European performing arts festivals to engage in joint projects aimed at producing shows and promoting artists, exchanging know-how and working experiences and "integrating political and social thinking regarding the Mediterranean". This work takes place under the aegis of the Kadmos network, whose partners are: the Grec Festival of Barcelona, the Avignon Festival, the Athens-Epidaurus Festival and Istanbul International Theatre Festival.

Brief history
In the years leading up to the restoration of democracy in Spain, the Barcelona theatre scene witnessed the birth of an innovative, independent approach to the performing arts, a movement that broke radically with the more conventional fare that had dominated the listings in the city until that time. The key figures in this alternative scene were, precisely, those that, in 1976, set up the Assembly of Actors and Directors. The Assembly was able, in just a few weeks, to programme a summer theatre season at the Teatre Grec in Montjuïc.


grecNearly 47 years after its inauguration, Barcelona's little-used "Greek Theatre" had fallen into a semi-abandoned state. Besides setting an example in self-management, the first Grec Festival both salvaged the theatre in Montjuïc and achieved considerable public success.
For the first two seasons, the Assembly of Actors and Directors organised the Grec Festival. The event did not take place in 1978 but, following the first democratic elections after the end of the Franco dictatorship (1979), Barcelona City Council took over the task of organising the festival.

From that moment, the Grec became increasingly consolidated and enjoyed constant growth. In 1980, the programme was opened up to include productions from other countries, and this aspect of the Festival has been strengthened in recent years, along with support for local artists and productions, this international dimension is one of its essential characteristics.
Over the course of its history, the Grec programme has gradually occupied more and more venues and spaces, spreading to different areas of the city and supporting the work of alternative theatres and companies whilst always maintaining a balance between initiatives of this type and shows aimed at broader audiences. Moreover, the organisers have long worked in close cooperation with the private sector.

The latest stage in the Festival's history has been marked by a clear interest in emerging, innovative art and the search for new audiences, as well as a firm commitment to dance and the circus (besides the usual programme of theatre and music) and to make the event more international, a focus that helps to bring the most interesting new productions from a particular country to the attention of Barcelona audiences every year.


corpus christi & L'ou com Balla 23-26 june 2011

corpus christie sitgesCorpus Christi - 26th June 2011
The town of Sitges celebrates Corpus Christi every year with style! Sections of the major streets are closed to traffic for at least 24 hours when intricate templates are drawn on the road. Neighbours from each street gather into the small hours of morning, plucking the petals off Carnation flowers. These petals are then placed on the patterns on the road. The transformation is amazing. It has to be seen to be believed.

San Juan - National Holiday – June date 23rd to 24th
With fireworks and cava flowing through the streets of every town in the province, the celebration marks the true start of Summer for the Catalans. In Sitges, it is also the time where every night feels like a Saturday night... the season is well underway and the days and nights start to get even hotter.

The view over the mountains towards Barcelona is truly spectacular as you watch the fireworks explode all down the Costa Garraf.

corpus sitgescorpus sitgescorpus sitges

corpus sitgesCorpus Christi Festival Flower Carpet Competition
The Corpus Christi Festival Flower Carpet Competition is a relatively recent annual event that has proved extremely popular with residents and tourists alike. Sitges, in common with much of Spain has many festivals based around the Old Catholic calendar. In the rest of Europe, these medieval observations faded after the Reformation of the 16th century, but in staunch Catholic strongholds like Spain, they continue to survive and indeed flourish.

The exhibitions of carnations and bonsai trees, along with the floral facade decorative competition form the secular leg of the events, along with a famous 'dancing egg' exhibit at the Palau Market.

During the same week as Corpus Christi the National Carnation Competition is held in the same week, a non-competitive event begun in 1918, and the event has been held every year since then except during the Civil War and a few post-war years. Today, it takes place in the gardens of the Hort de can Falc. The prestige lies in taking part rather than winning anything. The Exhibit is purely amateur and only honorary awards are given, with no economic compensation. Since 1991, there is a Bonsai Exhibition held jointly with the National Carnation Exhibit.

The participants turn the streets in to a show of incredible colours, and they compete for their street to be declared the most beautiful carpet in Sitges. The first record of this beautiful tradition dates from 1887, and today around 360,000 carnations are used in its preparation, in addition to other types of flowers.

carnations sitgesThe "Floral Ornamentation of Facades and Balconies Contest" has been included as part of the carpet contest since 1959, and on more than one occasion, you must look up to admire the beauty of these local decorations made from carnations, geraniums, white lilies, and other varieties of flower.

The Corpus Christi celebrations start with the Carnation Opening Speech on Friday at 8:00 pm. On Saturday afternoon, the Gegants(Giants) de la Vila, the Moorish Gegants, and the American Gegants begin their journey from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento through the streets of downtown Sitges. The Blessed Sacrament procession is celebrated on Sunday, which together with the Gegants, will travel through the streets of Sitges, and finish in the afternoon, with the traditional collective carnation tribute presented at the sanctuary dedicated to the Our Lady of Vinyet.


dancing eggThe Dancing Egg
Beginning in Barcelona in 1588, the Cathedral began a tradition which is still practiced today, known as "L'ou com balla", roughly translated as "the dancing egg." A hollowed-out eggshell, symbolizing the Body of Christ, is placed on a jet in a fountain of the Cathedral cloister, where it appears to dance about in the spray. There is evidence that in the sixteenth century it was in the fountain of the cloister of the Cathedral. The egg, once empty and with melted wax to act as have a counterweight, was positioned over the jet of water in the fountain, it then starts turning without falling. The fountains themselves are decorated beautifully for the occasion, with fragrant flowers in rich reds and pretty pinks and fresh fruits like cherries. The parade of giants and large-headed carnival figures (known as cabezudos) around the cathedral area in the city centre on the first evening of the festival is definitely worth catching.


1952 corpus sitgescorpus sitgescorpus 1955 sitges

1953 corpus sitgesThe practice has now spread to other parts of Catalonia and Spain. In Barcelona you can visit this often in areas of the Gothic Quarter: Barcelona Cathedral, the House of Arcediano and the other streets Ateneu Barcelonès, the Archives of the Crown of Aragon, the Royal Academy of Arts of Barcelona, Frederic Marès Museum or courtyards of the palace or Centelles - History Museum of Barcelona.
In Igualada A square dance at the Pius XII.
In Sitges it's found to Maricel Museum.
In Tarragona in 1933, the canon Dr. Josep Vallès Barceló began decorating the garden and placed a dancing egg on the fountain of the cloister of the Cathedral. The popularity of this grew, especially after the war, with the assistance of the authorities at the opening. At present it's prepared by a team of volunteers and volunteer florists and the cathedral sacristy.




FERIA ABRIL DE CATALUNYAThe 40th April Fair of Catalunya is from Friday 29 April to Sunday 8 May 2011 at the Parc del Forum in the Diagonal Mar district of Barcelona. The feria is a explosion of music, food, dancing and attractions. a festival celebrating Andalucian culture in Barcelona.

The original April Fair, which was first held in 1847, is the one that occurs in Seville each year. It usually starts two weeks after Semana Santa (Holy Week). There are also smaller April Fairs held in several Andalusian cities and towns at around the same time.

Some of you may be thinking, "Why does a so-called April fair happen in May?" – and those of you who know Spain may be asking, "Isn't the April Fair held in Seville each year?"

So, just what is an April Fair? Well, first and foremost, it is fun. Secondly, it's an opportunity to revel in Spanish, especially Andalusian, culture – flamenco, sevillianas, rumbas, boleros, pienetas, mantillas, shawls, riding jackets, castanets, cantaores, bailaoras, Jerez sherry, manzanilla wine, tapas, gazpacho, ham, and, that great Spanish confection churrrrrrrrros!

Many tourists arrive in Barcelona expecting to find flamenco dancers and castanets. While there are a few flamenco shows and shops selling ruffled skirts for the tourists, Catalunya has nothing to do with these Spanish stereotypes. Now, for a short time, tourists in Barcelona do not need to travel to southern Spain to experience flamenco.




La Feria de Abril de Catalunya is organized by the Federacion de Entidades Culturales Andaluzas en Catalunya and Barcelona's Ajuntament. The 40th year of La Feria de Abril de Catalunya features local music, live performances, traditional food of Andalucía and of course, fabulous flamenco dancing. Entrance to the festival is free, however you must pay for food and drinks or any castanets you may want to buy.

In 1971, immigrants to Barcelona from Andalusia, and their descendants, began their own version of the Seville Fair, Feria de abril de Sevilla. Since then the Barcelona event has grown to become the second largest Spring Fair in Spain.


FERIA DE ABRIL DE CATALUNYAThe fair is currently held at the Parc del Fòrum fairgrounds, a large area on the shores of the Mediterranean, which is covered with rows of casetas, colourfully decorated marquee tents which are temporarily set up. Most of the casetas are sponsored by cultural associations created by and for Andalusian immigrants and their descendants. There are also casetas sponsored by the cultural associations of other ethnic groups, such as Latin Americans and Moroccans, as well as others sponsored by political parties.

Throughout the fairground, many men, women and children walk around dressed in traditional "trajes de corto" (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) and "trajes de flamenco" (flamenco style dresses).

In Barcelona's version, the April Fair is also a celebration of multiculturalism. This is in recognition of the fact that Catalunya absorbed hundreds of thousands of "internal immigrants"from Andalusia, Murcia and Extremadura during the 50s, 60s and 70s and is now absorbing a new wave of immigrants, but this time from Latin America, Morocco, Pakistan and Eastern Europe.

Visitors to the festival are a mosaic of people from around Spain and the world. However, there are usually not very many tourists. For that last reason, it is a particularly authentic experience.

FERIA DE ABRIL DE CATALUNYAAll the pavilions of Barcelona's Feria de Abril are welcoming places where members of the public can rest from walking around the fairgrounds, buy a drink, eat a meal, snack on tapas, listen to music, watch dancers, or get up and dance. Most of the pavilions are sponsored by cultural associations created by and for Andalusian immigrants and their descendants. There are also pavilions sponsored by political parties from just about the entire spectrum. In addition to pavilions, there are stalls selling clothing, arts, crafts, and food items from around Spain. There is also a fun-fair for kids, with a Ferris wheel and other rides.

Admission to the fairground is free. Prices in the pavilions are regulated by the fair organizers, but prices in the stands and stalls are not. So, the best deals are on food and drink often in the pavilions.

The entire thing is an 11 day feast of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. And the joy is contagious – whether its that of the professional dancers on the stages, the colourfully costumed bands of singers & dancers who roam around the grounds or the civilians strutting their stuff on the pavilion dance floors.

¡Viva la feria de abril!


Royal wedding trivia april 2011

HRH Prince William, once he is crowned King, will be tallest monarch the country has ever had since the reign of His Majesty King Edward I (1272-1307), breaking the 704 years (and counting) record. Edward Longshanks, as King Edward I was known, was estimated to be 6' 2" (188cm) tall, based on skeletal remains, the same height as HRH Prince Harry, the younger brother of HRH Prince William, who stands at 6'3" (191cm).
Billy The Fish
While serving with the Royal Air Force, HRH Prince William, known affectionately as Billy The Fish by his fellow RAF soldiers, was involved in the repatriation of the body of their fallen comrade, Robert Pearson, from Afghanistan in a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military aircraft.
The Pirate Hunter
While on secondment with the Royal Navy, HRH Prince William, serving in the HMS Iron Duke, was involved in the capture of a smuggler's vessel in the Caribbean that was loaded with cocaine worth over £40 million in street value.
What's Your Poison, Baby?
"Crack baby" -vodka, champagne and passion fruit juice. The favourite drink of both HRH Prince William and Ms. Kate Middleton.
HRH Prince William, serving in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Unit in Anglesey, Wales (which he is still currently attached with), participated in the dramatic rescue of a heart attack victim in October last year. Responding to an emergency request from the Liverpool Coastguard, HRH Prince William co-piloted a Sea King Helicopter to airlift the man from an offshore oil rig in Morecambe Bay to a hospital.
Waity Kaity No More
Ms. Kate Middleton, for whom the derisory term 'Waity Kaity' was coined for, will be the oldest royal bride ever. Born in 9 January 1982, Ms. Middleton will be exactly 29 years, three months and 20 days old on the day of the wedding – a new record.
ROYAL CRESTShades of Diana
Ms. Kate Middleton has been regularly cited as one of the best dressed women in the country. She was included in numerous Best-Dressed Lists in a number of acclaimed publications over the past several years, including Vanity Fair, People and Tatler.
We're Cousins!
Twelve times removed that is. Both HRH Prince William and Ms. Kate Middleton are related through Sir Thomas Leighton of Feckenham, the husband of Elizabeth Knollys, cousin of the Queen and grandniece of the legendary Anne Boleyn. Having said that, experts have estimated that there is a 99.9% chance that anyone with a drop of English blood in them is a descendant of King Edward III!
The hip, cool and socially awkward circles of royal genealogy are feverish with the anticipation of some royal grave diggings after the wedding. The speculation is centred on the idea that the Royal Family might wish to conduct DNA testing and determine if Ms. Middleton's family did indeed came from the lines of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne, mistress of Henry VIII, thereby confirming her royal bloodlines.
WESTMINSTERWhose turn is it to curtsy?
The distance of the royal ladies, as well as their consorts, to the throne determines the order of curtsying in the Palace. After the marriage of Ms. Middleton to HRH Prince William, the ranking of the female members of the royalty is expected to be as such:
The Queen
Kate Middleton
Princess Anne
Princess Beatrice
Princess Eugenie
Princess Alexandra
Duchess of Cornwall
Countess of Wessex
Lady Louise Windsor
Zara Phillips
Lady Sarah Chatto
Lady Davina Lewis of Gloucester
Lady Rose Gilman of Gloucester
Lady Helen Windsor
This would imply that, by protocol, Ms. Middleton would only need to curtsy Her Majesty The Queen. In fact, Ms. Middleton should expect her step-mother in law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of HRH Prince Charles, to curtsy to her. Unless of course HRH Prince Charles is present in the room, in which case, no curtsying is required. But, in the absence of HRH Prince William, Ms. Middleton would be required to curtsy to the elder couple instead. And you people thought all those curtsying was easy…
ROYAL COINIn The Name Of Love
Ms. Middleton is allergic to horses, but she hardly ever misses the chance to watch HRH Prince William playing polo.
University of St. Andrews, The Unofficial Matchmaking Agency of The Rich and Famous
So not only do you go to the University of St. Andrews to study, you are also there to search for your life partner. As hard as it is to believe, that statement is supported by the fact that one in ten former students married their former alumni or alumna.
The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
In the days of old, the best man and maid of honour of a royal wedding had one additional task – they have to bear witness to the royal consummation of the royal couple on the wedding night. HRH Prince William and Ms. Kate Middleton are probably very relieved that this particular tradition has somehow become extinct.


The changing dates of ash Wednesday, mothering sunday & easter

LENTLent is a forty-day period before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection. Lent begins on 9 March 2011 and ends on 23 April 2011, which is the day before Easter. In most churches, the decorations are purple, the royal colour, to prepare for the King.

Ash Wednesday is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as February 4 (February 5 on leap years) or as late as March 10. The earliest date Ash Wednesday can occur is February 4 (in a common year with Easter on March 22), which happened in 1573, 1668, 1761 and 1818 and will next occur in 2285. The latest date is March 10 (when Easter Day falls on April 25) which occurred in 1546, 1641, 1736, 1886 and 1943 and will next occur in 2038. Ash Wednesday has never occurred on Leap Year Day (29 February), and it will not occur as such until 2096. The only other years of the third millennium that will have Ash Wednesday on 29 February are 2468, 2688, 2840, and 2992. (Ash Wednesday falls on 29 February only if Easter is on 15 April in a leap year.)

ASH WEDNESDAYAsh Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned. In the liturgical practice of some churches, the ashes are mixed with the Oil of the Catechumens (one of the sacred oils used to anoint those about to be baptized), though some churches use ordinary oil. This paste is used by the minister who presides at the service to make the sign of the cross, first upon his or her own forehead and then on those of congregates.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus' withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.

SHROVE TUESDAYMardi Gras or Carnival
Carnival, which comes from a Latin phrase meaning "removal of meat," is the three day period preceding the beginning of Lent, the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the Lenten Season (some traditions count Carnival as the entire period of time between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday). The three days before Ash Wednesday are also known as Shrovetide ("shrove" is an Old English word meaning "to repent"). The Tuesday just before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday, or is more popularly known by the French term Mardi Gras, meaning "Fat Tuesday," contrasting to the fasting during Lent. The entire three day period has now come to be known in many areas as Mardi Gras.
Carnival or Mardi Gras is celebrated in many places with parades, costumes, dancing, and music. Many churches now observe Mardi Gras with a church pancake breakfast or other church meal, eating together as a community before the symbolic fasting of Lent begins. (Pancake day 8th March 2011)

MOTHERS DAYMothering Sunday (which is late this year (2011) 3 April) is a Christian festival celebrated throughout Europe and it falls on the 4th Sunday in Lent. Secularly it became a celebration of motherhood. It is increasingly being called Mother's Day, although in countries other than the UK and Ireland that holiday has other origins. In the UK it is considered synonymous with Mother's Day as celebrated in other countries.
In the Roman religion the Hilaria festival was held in honour of the mother goddess Cybele and it took place during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity, this celebration became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the "mother church".
During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday. This was either a large local church, or more often the nearest Cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone "a-mothering", although whether this preceded the term Mothering Sunday is unclear. In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, since in other days they were prevented by conflicting working hours.
By the third decade of the twentieth century, the custom of keeping Mothering Sunday had tended to lapse in Europe. It was revived through the influence of American and Canadian soldiers serving abroad during World War II, who celebrated Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. People from Ireland and the UK started celebrating Mother's Day again, but on the same day Mothering Sunday had been celebrated before it fell into disuse, the fourth Sunday in Lent.

LENT FUNNYLent: fish, fish, fish
In the Middle Ages the catholic church prescribed what was on the daily menu. Each week counted at least one day, and more often three or even four days (depending on where and when in medieval Europe) during which no meat was to be eaten. For many catholics Friday was still an obligatory 'fish day' until well into the twentieth century. In this way one was weekly reminded of Jesus who died on the cross on what we call Good Friday. Other possible days of fasting were Wednesday (because of Judas' treason) and Saturday (to honour the Virgin Mary). Together with this weekly cycle, there was also an annual cycle of fasting days: the Ember Days (these mark the beginning of the new seasons, in December, March, June and September), Advent (the four weeks before Christmas), and Lent (the six weeks between Carnival and Easter). Added together, this means that to the medieval Christian meat was prohibited foodstuff during a third to more than half of all the days in the year (even if he or she could afford it).
FAKE FISH PIEBut why fish?
This does not mean people were part-time vegetarians: the eating of fish was allowed. A simple (perhaps too simple) explanation is that during the Biblical Flood, meant to punish mankind for its sins, all fish survived! It was clear that fish were free of all sin.
An other explanation is that meat, especially red meat, would 'heat' the human body according to the medieval health theory. This means that the body was more susceptible to lust. Medieval theologians saw a connection between the sins of the body (our 'meat') and the eating of meat. But fish on the other hand had a cooling effect on the human body. Eating fish would lessen any sinful inclinations of the consumer.
For people living near the coast, fish days were no great hardship: sea fish was easy to come by. When you lived inland you had to rely on either freshwater fish or conserved fish as stockfish and other salted and/or dried fish. Those who could afford it owned fishponds to be assured of an ample supply of freshwater fish.
The menu during Lent
During the six weeks between Carnival and Easter (the forty days of the withdrawal of Jesus into the wilderness, minus the Sundays) there was an extra prohibition. Not only meat, but also milk, butter, cheese and eggs were banned from the table. In February and March, at the end of winter, supplies ran low, and what was left of fruit and vegetables was old, wrinkled and mouldy (except of course for some cabbages like winter leeks and in Italy broccoli).
The staple diet consisted of bread, porridge or gruel made of grain (rye, spelt, wheat), peas or beans (pea soup!), salted or dried vegetables, fish (fresh and preserved), onions, leeks, (old) apples, nuts, and for the wealthy dried dates, figs, raisins and currants, and almonds. Almonds were very important, because these were the basis for almond milk, almond butter, and even almond cheese. If you want to partake of Lent the medieval way, you'll have to limit yourself to one meal a day between Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday, and abstain from all meat and dairy produce. Allowed foodstuff: fish, vegetables, legumes, grains, wine and beer, sugar and honey, fruit, dried fruits and nuts. The medieval way means that of vegetables and fruit you are only allowed those varieties that are local and in season!
Lent food during the 17th century- "Fake Fish"
When you think of it, a period of six weeks in which all you get to eat besides fruit and vegetables is fish, fish and again fish is rather weary some. It seems however that some people hadn't had enough of fish yet: a recipe for apple pie in the form of a fake fish, especially for Lent. The recipe has a variation: you can also prepare mock meat in the guise of calf's ears.
The fake fish is a closed apple pie, or resembles apple dumplings, according to which size you make it. The calf's ears are deep fried pastry, formed like the ear of a calf, and filled after frying with the stuffing that is also used in the apple pie or the dumplings.



兔 2011 year of the rabbit 2011

year of the rabbitAccording to the Chinese zodiac calendar, we are ending the year of the tiger and 2011 will be the year of the rabbit.
A year ago, we faced 2010 with a unique bravery and courage reflective of a tiger. Despite hard times, most of us have not given up. In light of the deep economic recession, our resilience was an act of courage.

The year 2011 is the year of the rabbit, the symbol of endurance. We will have to learn to live with less. This will be a year of sacrifice.

The coming year should be placid, which is desired after the fierce year of the tiger. It will be a peaceful year. We should seek tranquillity to soothe our wounds.
Moderation may be the theme of 2011 - economically, socially and politically.
The coming year will be a year of constraint and restraint, despite the clear messages sent over the past few years of "Yes we can" and "The Party of No." Don't expect major changes. Remember, this is the year of sacrifice.

Yet, the year of the rabbit is also a time when we want to have fun. Rabbits are skilled at ignoring distasteful realities. Because the outlook is serene, we will tend to procrastinate and enjoy ourselves more. We may put off disagreeable tasks. We may allow for some luxuries, a pent-up demand from the years of fear and cutting back. We may act carefree without too many annoyances - at least temporarily.

zodiacSelfishness is the new norm but not necessarily out of spite or malicious behaviour. We desperately want to hang on to what we have and defend against those who threaten us. We're no longer tigers but determined creatures simply trying to survive. We focus on private successes at the expense of the common good. Any change must be framed with an understanding of this new self interest.
In the year of the rabbit, we seek calm to forge through the continued tough times. Many will avoid confrontation and dislike hostile action because we can't afford the price of a conflict. Rabbits rely on keen survival abilities.

Our strong minds and wills translate into a slow and deliberate pace in 2011. Persuasion is better than force so long as our self-interests are protected. A new strategy of sacrifices requires we accept concessions, but we do so - so long as they are reasonable concessions. The devil will be in the details.

giant rabbitOrdinarily a rabbit is a lucky sign and I hope that remains true for the coming year. Despite all the challenges, rabbits have an uncanny gift of choosing the right things.

So enjoy the new year, one that is predicted to be calmer. We will take comfort in a few moments of pleasure and treat ourselves with some self-indulgence. We will have some bright moments in this coming year and will celebrate them. We have to because of what is looming in the following year. 2012 is the year of the dragon.

The Rabbit ( 兔 ) (also translated as Hare) is the fourth animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Rabbit is associated with the earthly branch symbol 卯.

year of the rabbitIn the related Vietnamese zodiac, the cat takes the place of the rabbit. The Chinese symbol 卯 for the Rabbit sounds like (mão, mẫu, méo, mẹo, mẻo); the word "mèo" is cat in Vietnamese. Therefore, cat was translated from Chinese to Vietnamese as fourth zodiac sign instead of Rabbit.

Years and the Five Elements
People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Rabbit," while also bearing the following elemental sign:

chinese rabbits* 29 January 1903 – 15 February 1904: Water Rabbit
* 14 February 1915 – 2 February 1916: Wood Rabbit
* 2 February 1927 – 22 January 1928: Fire Rabbit
* 19 February 1939 – 7 February 1940: Earth Rabbit
* 6 February 1951 – 26 January 1952: Metal Rabbit
* 25 January 1963 – 12 February 1964: Water Rabbit
* 11 February 1975 – 30 January 1976: Wood Rabbit
* 29 January 1987 – 16 February 1988: Fire Rabbit
* 16 February 1999 – 4 February 2000 Earth Rabbit
* 3 February 2011 – 22 January 2012: Metal Rabbit
* 2023 – 2024: Water Rabbit
* 2035 – 2036: Wood Rabbit
* 2047 – 2048: Fire Rabbit
The Rabbit is the symbol of longevity.

Their fundamental nature and strength is drawn from the moon. The Chinese believe a person born in this year is very fortunate! Soft spoken rabbits find happiness and contentment. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise.
Rabbits need trust and tenderness in a relationship. Like the rabbit they hop over obstacles, and always land on their feet! The rabbit's soft, vulnerable looking exterior is protected by an armor of cautiousness. Hares are very lucky in business and combined with their excellent bargaining wisdom will go far. They find it hard to work under pressure. Hares are the peace makers and good scholars. They may look easy going, but they are actually quite cunning! Being a strong willed person, they go quietly, yet determinedly towards their goals. Rabbits are considerate, understanding, warm, friendly, and easy to be with. They know how to relax! They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.
Famous People Born in the Year of the Rabbit:
Johnny Depp, Germaine Greer, Neil Sedaka, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Jordan and Drew Barrymore. Harry Belafonte, Ingrid Bergman, Lewis Carroll, John Cleese, Peter Falk, Peter Fonda, James Fox, David Frost, Cary Grant, Oliver Hardy, Bob Hope, Whitney Houston, John Hurt, Michael Keaton, John Keats, Julian Lennon, Arthur Miller, Roger Moore, Tatum O'Neal, George Orwell, Neil Simon, Jane Seymour, Dusty Springfield, Sting, Orson Welles, Norman Wisdom.

Take part in the traditions, fun, and virtues of this important holiday.

Help your kids make snakes and lanterns with colorful crepe paper, and hang them throughout your house.

Make homemade fortune cookies and write creative fortunes to delight and amuse your guests.

At the stroke of midnight, open your doors and windows to release the stresses of the old year.



cupidCupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and piercing hearts . He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love. Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.

There is a very interesting story about Cupid and His mortal Bride Psyche in Roman mythology. Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. But instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him.

Psyche was happy until her sisters persuaded her to look at Cupid. As soon as Psyche looked at Cupid, Cupid punished her by leaving her. Their lovely castle and gardens vanished too. Psyche found herself alone in an open field with no signs of other beings or Cupid. As she wandered trying to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess of love gave Psyche a series of tasks, each harder and more dangerous then the last.

For her last task Psyche was given a little box and told to take it to the underworld. She was told to get some of the beauty of Prospering, the wife of Pluto, and put it in the box. During her trip she was given tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead. She was also warned not to open the box. But Temptation overcame Psyche and she opened the box. But instead of finding beauty, she found deadly slumber.

Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the deadly sleep from her body and put it back in the box. Cupid forgave her, as did Venus. The gods, moved by Psyche's love for Cupid made her a goddess.

Today, Cupid and his arrows have become the most popular of love signs, and love is most frequently depicted by two hearts pierced by an arrow, Cupid's arrow.




In the History of Skiing, it is said that Skiing started in Northern Europe and Asia thousands of years ago. It is believed that the first skiers used Skis from the bones of large animals strapping the bones to the toe of their boots using leather strips. Meanwhile, wooden Skis believed to be 2,500 to 5,000 years old were found in Norway, Finland, and Sweden. All these early Skis were mostly used on flat ground since the Ski Bindings were loose toe straps that would not keep the Skis attached to the Ski Boots during downhill runs.


SKIINGSkis were used in war. This was during the Battle of Oslo, Norway (A.D. 1200) where Norwegian scouts used Skis to spy on Swedish enemies. In 1747, a Norwegian military Ski company was formed. This paved the way of introducing the manner of fastening the Skis both at the heels and toes of boots. In this way, the Skis remained attached even in Downhill Skiing.

Modern Skiing developed in 1850. Sondre Norheim, a Norwegian, invented the first stiff bindings. He made them by tying pieces of twisted wet birch roots on his boots. These roots dried up and turned stiff. These Bindings provided more control than leather straps. With these improved Bindings, Sondre Norheim had come up with new turning motions.

OLD SKIINGOther Skiing enthusiasts marked the development of modern Skiing. In 1896, Mathias Zdarsky of Austria introduced the technique of pushing one Ski at an angle to the fall line in order to control speed. During the early part of 1900s, Hannes Schneider, also of Austria, got inspired of Zdarsky's technique and developed new stopping and turning maneuvers, which he organized into the first formal method of Ski instruction. It was later known as the Arlberg technique, in which most modern Skiing Techniques were based.

In the early 1900s, Skiing became a very popular competitive sport. The first Slalom race was held in 1921 in Switzerland. After three years, Nordic competitions became part of the first Winter Olympic Games, as well as the Alpine Skiing events which were included in 1936.

SWIM SUIT SKIINGIn the early part of World War II (1939-1945), Finnish troops used Ski patrols to resist the Russian intruders, and in 1945, Ski troops of the U.S. army fought the Germans in the mountains of Italy.

The rapid radiation of alpine skiing from these small mountain towns out to every continent and remote corners of the earth was a completely unforeseen phenomenon, a profound surprise in size and extent.
SWIM SUIT SKIINGAfter the war, Skiing was seen in a whole new perspective. Winners of international skiing competitions got increasing publicity. This publicity, as well as the extensive television coverage of different Ski events and exposure to other forms of media, have stimulated recreational Skiing. In fact, around 400 resorts were built in the United States in 1960. Nowadays, Skiing is the most popular winter sport, with about 45 million fans and thousands of Ski Resorts worldwide. The sport has developed itself in a couple of ways coming with a number of variations of which Snowboarding is the largest.

The Skiing Timeline:
This timeline of historical events in the world of skiing represents the results of the work of a group of ski historians between 2005/2007 under the leadership of longtime (now retired) FIS Committee member from the UK, Elisabeth Hussey. The goal of the group was to compile an international timeline of events which were important over the whole history of skiing. Here are just a few facts.
CAVE PAINTINGS6300 BC: 6300-5000 BC Oldest skis found in Russia near Lake Sindor (about 1,200km northwest of Moscow). Skis made of hard wood.
4000 BC: Rock carvings found at Bøla, Norway.
3300 BC: The Salla ski was found in Finland in 1938. Originally 180cm long, about 15cm wide with 5 grooves.
c.2000BC: Earliest known picture of skiers. A cave wall in Tjoetta, Norway, provided the backdrop for an artist's drawing of colleagues using skis to hunt elk.
SKI BOOT1860s Skis were used by miners in Durham, England. 1864: Johannes Badrutt kept St Moritz open in winter and bet his English guests they would find it as sunny as in summer. He won his bet and St Moritz became a centre of winter sports.
1881: John F. Baddely founded Yukki Ski Club at St Petersburg - the earliest English ski club.
1893: 2 February first ski competition in Central Europe at Murzzuschlag, including downhill race with 9.5 degree pitch of 600 m, heats and the final won by W.B. Samson, a Norwegian. and the ski jump was won by Samson with a 6m jump.
1905: First issue of Year-Book of the Ski Club of Great Britain.
EARLIEST SKI LIFT1908: One of the first skilifts in the world set up in Schollach, Schwarzwald. It rose 75 m and was 550 m long. Another early lift specifically made for skiing was invented by Robert Winterhalder, who owned a small hotel in the Black Forest (Germany). Winterhalder thought that for winter sport fans it was as terrible to have to climb the slopes as it was pleasant to go down on skis and sleds. That made him create a mechanical system to climb the slopes sitting on a sled or sliding standing on skis and, after a few years testing that system, he created a cable with continuos movement, driven by a motor and with hooks to hold on to. As the power source for his invention, Winterhalder used the engine of a water mill from his hotel, which he previously converted in a mini hydro-electric power station. Winterhalder´s lift had a length of 280m and a vertical of 28m, and the cable passed by 5 wooden towers. It was inaugurated on the 14th of February 1908, and a ticket for 10 rides costed 1 Mark.
OLD SKIS1911: Downhill Telemarks become fashionable with English skiers. Single pole almost extinct. 1933: Ski jumping record of 281 feet, held by Alf Engen of Salt Lake City, broken by Robert S Lymburne with a jump of 287ft. 1933: Laminated ski construction using permanently waterproof glues patented simultaneously by Bjorn Ullevoldsaeter of Ostbye-Splitkein in Norway and George Aaland of Anderson & Thompson in Seattle. John Woodward, quoted by Seth Masia in "The Splitkein Patent", Skiing Heritage. December 2003.
SKIINSNOW1936 - 6 - 16 February: First Winter Olympic Games to include Alpine races (Slalom and Downhill but medal awarded for Combined only) for men and women. Nordic Relay Race introduced. Held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER).
1950: Howard Head sold first successful sandwich construction ski.
1957: ob Lange made the first plastic ski boot. Commercial introduction came in 1964 after adoption of buckles. Also first step-in binding made by Cubco.
2009: Women's jumping Court case on 15 Nov to decide if women can jump at Vancouver Olympics. VANOC announcement.


sinterklaas in holland dec 5 2010

sinterklaasThere is not a single family in Holland that does not in some way or another honour the old "Bishop" and his servant the Grumpus with a party, a small get-together or by going to somebody's else's house to celebrate. There may be many presents, or just a few, tables laden with traditional candles and cookies, or just a pot of hot chocolate. The Sinterklaas spirit is everywhere.

On December 5th children leave clogs or shoes out to be filled with presents. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklaas's horse, they will be left some sweets. Children are told that Zwarte Piet keeps a record of all the things they have done in the past year in a book and that good children will get presents from Sinterklaas, but bad children will get chased by Zwarte Piet with a stick!! Dutch tradition says that he lives in Madrid, and every year he chooses a different harbour to arrive in Holland, so as many children as possible get a chance to see him.

sinterklaasHe travels with his servant called Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). When Sinterklaas and Black Peter come ashore from the boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. Sinterklaas then leads a procession through the town, riding a white horse. Every town in Holland has a few Sinterklaas helpers, dressed the same as Sinter Klaas who help give the presents out.
If children are really lucky they might receive all their presents during the evening. This is called 'Sinterklaasavond' or 'Pakjesavond' (present evening). There might be a knock at the door and you might find a sack full of presents!

sinterklaasHow is Sinterklaas celebrated in the Netherlands?
On 5th December, the Dutch traditionally celebrate Sinterklaas. The children are told about a very old Spanish bishop called Sinterklaas, who is fond of children. This Iberian prelate visits the Low Lands every year by the end of November and leaves quietly after December 5th. How this kindly 4th century bishop made his way from Asia Minor through Italy, Spain and all of Northern Europe by the 11th century where he is still honoured today is hard to say, but by that time he become the patron saint not only of children and unwed maidens, but of sailors and the City of Amsterdam as well.
sinterklaas lettersAssociation with Amsterdam goes back to the time of the Inquisition, which had spread to Holland in the Middle Ages. Rumour had it that there was a Nicholas who was Bishop of the Cathedral in Amsterdam. When the swarthy Spaniards came from Spain to trade with the Dutch, they gave passage to adults and children alike whose lives were threatened by the Inquisition.

sinterklaasThe name Sinterklaas comes from Sint Niklaas, which is a variation of Sint Nikolaas (Saint Nicholas).
Grown-ups sometimes celebrate Sinterklaas as well, but in a different way from the children: adults make rhymes for each other in which the other person is the subject or the victim. Often less favourable habits of the victim are dealt with in a humorous way.
There are some traditional things to eat and drink with Sinterklaas. Pepernoten (very small cookies, Figures of Speculaas, also a kind of cookie only bigger made with cinnamon and cloves.
For the grown-ups Bishops wine which is red wine with sugar, cinnamon and cloves and can be hot or cold. At many Dutch Sinterklaas Eve parties, chocolate initials, will be given to each person—the first given to the youngest child, then on up to the oldest person present. The tasty treats may be found in shoes, left by Sinterklaas as he makes his rounds checking on children. The letters, in brightly coloured boxes, are sold from around October 15th through to December 5th.
The custom of edible letters goes back to Germanic times when, at birth, children were given a runic letter, made of bread—as a symbol of good fortune. Letters became associated with Sinterklaas in the 19th century, when a sheet was used to cover St. Nicholas presents. A bread dough letter, placed on top of the sheet, identified where a child's gifts were located.
Dutch folklore
sinterklaasIn the Netherlands Saint Nicolas (often called "De Goede Sint" — "The Friendly Saint") is now aided by helpers commonly known as Zwarte Piet ("Black Peter").
The folklore of Saint Nicolas has many parallels with the Germanic mythology. Saint Nicolas has many resemblances with Odin, like the beard, hat and spear (nowadays a staff) and the cloth bag held by the servants to capture naughty children. Both Saint Nicolas and Odin ride white horses that can fly. The white eight-legged steed of Odin is named Sleipnir.
A more modern story, is that Saint Nicolas lilberated an Ethiopian boy slave called 'Piter' (from Saint Peter) from a Myra market, and the boy was so gracious he decided to stay with Saint Nicolas as a helper. In Belgium Zwarte Piet is still called "Pieter baas", derived from 'Piter'. Nowadays Zwarte Piet has become a modern servant who has a black face because he climbs down chimneys and gets blackened by the soot from the fire.
Until the second world war Saint Nicolas was only helped by one servant. When the Canadians liberated the Netherlands in 1945, they reinstated the celebrations of Sinterklaas for the children. Unaware of the traditions, the Canadians thought that if one Zwarte Piet was fun, several Zwarte Pieten would be even more fun. Ever since Saint Nicolas is helped by a group of Zwarte Pieten. Since the giving of presents is Sinterklaas's job, presents are traditionally not given at Christmas in the Netherlands, but commercialism is starting to tap into this market.
sinterklaas and father christmasChristmas Day itself is a much quieter day in Holland, with a Church Service and family meal. Sometimes there is a special Christmas Day 'Sunday School' in the afternoon at the church, where the Christmas Story and other traditional stories are told. Oranges and biscuits are often the only presents children will get on Christmas Day because they have already received most of their presents on St. Nicholas Day.
On Christmas Eve night, Dutch Children believe that Santa Claus, (who is also call 'Christmas man' to avoid confusion with Sinterklass!) comes from Lapland in Finland to deliver more presents!
In Dutch Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Prettige Kerstfeest'.
Dutch Treats!!
Did you know that "cookie" is a Dutch word? And that the first chocolate in America came from Holland? Not only did children in New Amsterdam (NYC) love the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, they also quickly came to love another tradition the Dutch brought to the New World: cookies!! The Dutch word was "koekje," and meant "little cake." The Dutch brought the "koekjes" to America in the 17th century and the word became "cookie." Much like Sinterklaas became Santa Claus. The first cookies were created by accident. Cooks used a small amount of cake batter to test their oven temperature before baking a large cake. Almost immediately the Dutch knew they had discovered something very, very good. With a little bit of sugar added, crackers became cookies! Before long, special cookies were being made for the Dutch' peoples favourite holiday¬ -- Sinterklaas. These cookies are called Speculaas.



poppy day November 2010

POPPY DAYRemembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day – is a Commonwealth day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice). The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to be commemorated to the members of the armed forces who were killed during war; this was possibly done upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole, who established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.

The history of Poppy Day.
The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy was an appropriate choice for McCraes poem, as many young soldiers who fought for freedom did so in the splendor of the poppy fields. In Frances Belleau Wood, Cantigny, and Chateau Thierry war took place on battlefields that held wheat interspersed with the Corn Poppy. This bright red flower is prominent in Europe and commonly recalled in literature. The poppy was associated with veterans a great deal before the First World War. Writers in the Napoleonic Wars, , first noticed the poppy. The Napoleonic Wars took place in the early 19th Century where France, led by Napoleon, sought to conquer Europe. Napoleon had his tragic defeat at Waterloo by the English after deciding to attack Russia, costing France a good number of her soldiers. This vibrantly colored flower bloomed amidst the freshly dug graves of fallen soldiers. It was commonly said a fresh field would quickly turn red with battle, as the blood from fallen soldiers turned into the blood red petals of the poppy.

WAR MEMORIALThere is a more scientific reason for the growth of poppies directly after a battle. It seems few poppies grew in the infamous Flanders Field before the Great War, but was packed with the vibrant blooms almost immediately following the battles. Scientists have concluded the soil was not rich enough in lime to allow the poppies to flourish, however the residues produced from fighting introduced great quantities of lime into the soil. Of course, as the lime was absorbed by the poppies, the flowers began to die slowly until none were left.An American YMCA Overseas War Secretaries employee, Moina Michael, was inspired to make 25 silk poppies based on McCrae's poem, which she distributed to attendees of the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' Conference. She then made an effort to have the poppy adopted as a national symbol of remembrance, and succeeded in having the National American Legion Conference adopt it two years later. At this conference, a Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, was inspired to introduce the widely used artificial poppies given out today. She conceived the idea of widows and orphans manufacturing artificial poppies in the devastated areas of Northern France that could be sold by veterans' organisations overseas for the benefit of veterans as well as the destitute children of northern France In 1921 she sent her poppy sellers to London, where they were adopted by Field Marshall Douglas Haig, a founder of the Royal British Legion, as well as by veterans' groups in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The annual selling of poppies is the major source of income for the Royal British Legion in the UK. The poppy has no particular price, it is sold for a donation or the price may be suggested by the individual vendor. The black plastic centre of the poppy was marked "Haig Fund" until 1994.
WAR MEMORIALA small number of people choose to wear white poppies to indicate a preference to look forward to peace rather than backward at the sacrifice. Those who wear the white poppy have, since their introduction in the nineteen twenties, expressed their desire for peaceful alternatives to military action, which may be due to a variety of reasons from the religious, the humanitarian, legal or economic. The Co-operative Women's Guild produced White Poppies in 1933, along with white poppy wreaths. Some of the early white poppies were made of white silk and silver, with the word PEACE across the metal button at the centre.

New Zealand Poppy Day
One of Guérin's representatives, Colonel Alfred S. Moffatt, came to put the case to the Dominion Executive Sub-Committee of the New Zealand Returned Solders' Association in September 1921 and an order for some 350,000 small and 16,000 large silk poppies was duly placed with Madame Guérin's French Children's League. In contrast to the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, however, the RSA did not hold its inaugural Poppy Appeal in association with Armistice Day 1921 (11 November 1921), but instead chose the day prior to Anzac Day 1922. The reason is one of those quirks of history: the ship carrying the poppies from France arrived in New Zealand too late for the scheme to be properly publicised prior to Armistice Day, thereby forcing the Association to postpone its Poppy campaign until the day prior to Anzac Day 1922. The decision nonetheless established an historic precedence whereby Poppy Day – as the day was known from the outset – became forever associated with Anzac Day in New Zealand, thus setting it apart from the rest of the world where it is largely associated with Armistice Day.
With nearly 90 years of history, the Poppy Day Appeal is one of the oldest nationwide appeals conducted by a voluntary welfare organisation in many countries.



HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN2,000 years ago, the Celts lived in what is now Ireland, Scotland, the United Kingdom and France. Their new year began on November 1, which for them marked the end of summer and the onset of winter. They believed that the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on the night of October 31 as their calendar changed. Spirits of the dead were believed to roam the earth, causing havoc. The Celts also believed that the presence of these spirits enabled the Druids, their priestly class, to predict the future.

October 31 was called Samhain (pronounced sowen) meaning "summer's end," after the god of the same name, whom the Celts believed imprisoned the sun god for the winter. To commemorate the day, the Druids built bonfires and the people dressed in costumes made of animal heads and skins.


HALLOWEENThe Romans had conquered the Celts by 43 CE. They ruled for 400 years and combined two of their own holidays with Samhain. One was Feralia, a holiday commemorating the dead. The other was the holiday honouring Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. (Pomona's symbol was an apple and this is part of the origin of the custom to "bob for apples" on Halloween.)

By the 800s, Christianity had spread into the Celtic lands. The Church was having some trouble getting people to stop celebrating their old pagan holidays, so they decided to assign Christian holidays to coincide with them. November 1 was designated "All Saints Day," honouring martyrs and saints. October 31 was the eve of All Saints Day, "All Hallows Eve" (from which came the name Halloween). In 1000 CE, November 2 was designated All Souls Day, honouring the dead. Collectively, the three day festival from October 31 through November 2 was called "Hallowmas."

DOGSAll Souls Day in England featured parades. During these festivities, the poor would beg for "soul cakes," which they received in exchange for promises to pray for the donor's dead relatives. The Church encouraged the practice of soliciting soul cakes to replace the practice of leaving food out to appease wandering spirits. This, of course, is the source of the modern "Trick or Treat."
Dressing in costume comes from the Celtic tradition of dressing up in animal skins (as described above) and from a European custom. People were afraid that they would encounter ghosts if they went out on Halloween. They dressed up and wore masks to disguise themselves so that the spirits would mistake them for other ghosts.
Halloween traditions were popularized in America in the latter half of the 19th century by Irish immigrants fleeing the great potato famine of 1846. By the middle of the 20th century, "trick or treating" had become associated with vandalism. Harmless mischief perpetrated on those who refused gifts of food or money had grown into acts of property defacement and felonious assault. It continues to be that way in many places today.
It's ironic that many Fundamentalist Christian groups object to Halloween because of its pagan origins. The same superimposition of Christian holidays over existing pagan holidays was accomplished with Lupercalia (St. Valentine's Day), Eostre (Easter) and Yule (Christmas).
So what is the origin of Halloween? It's a combination of Celtic, Roman and Christian holidays. … No matter how you look at it, Halloween is not a secular holiday.




La Vuelta a España, the Tour of Spain cycling road race, is used to being regarded as the little brother of the three Grand Tours of Europe, lacking some of the history and tradition of the tours of France and Italy.




In April 1935, a mere 50 brave riders participated in the first Vuelta a España. They rode 3425 kilometers over 14 stages on steel bikes and the winner, Gustaaf Deloor enjoyed an orange jersey and a place in history of cycling. The fact remains, however, that La Vuelta has come a long way since, not only has the number of racers increased but, the sportsmen no longer take alcohol as their on course refreshment or borrow bicycles from members of the public when they crash their own!

Sebastia-Masdeu-ganador-de-la-primera-Volta.The race was initially conceived by the owners of the daily newspaper Informaciones, who had seen the impact the French and Italian tours had had on the circulation of L’Auto and La Gazzetta dello Sport respectively after they had sponsored races in their country. There was little continuity during the race’s early years, as both the Civil War and the Second World War had their inevitable impact on sport. In fact, the race has been an annual event now only since 1955. Originally, the race was held during the spring but in 1995 it was changed to the beginning of September and that has become its permanent place on the calendar.

75 years later the Vuelta organizers have presented a new edition. The trick is to add a few new twists each year to avoid the usual siesta where the Spanish TV spectator falls asleep while watching cycling after lunch.
It has been orange, white, red and white, yellow, gold, and now the leader's jersey will be red for the 75th Vuelta, the colour the Spanish national teams wear in most other sports. This could mean that the organizers would like to see a Spaniard winning in Madrid more than usual. They have designed a course that favours the aggressive riders who perform well in the mountains and don't want to ride against the clock. There are four mountain-top finishes, including two new climbs, Cotobello and La Bola del Mundo, and an extension to Navacerrada which comes the day before the end and will likely decide the final podium of this edition.

VUELTA Only one individual time trial will take place over 46 flat kilometers which is not a big deal if we see the list of big climbs this year: Xorret del Catí, Lagos de Covadonga, Cobertoria, Navacerrada. In a wise decision, time bonuses have been eliminated, meaning that the winner will be forced to attack when the hard slopes come. Apart from the big stages, we find a lot of hilly stages (Malaga, Alcoy) that will bring nervousness to the bunch.

VUELTAThe 2010 Vuelta a España will be the only Grand Tour not to start in the Netherlands. In fact, the Tour of Spain will start in... Spain! Unipublic, the organizer, has chosen the city of Seville, not a cycling city but a big city with lots of fans and tourists in summer. The first stage is a 16.5-kilometer team time trial and will be the first night stage ever in the Vuelta. It sounds like a creative idea to hold an opening time trial after the sun goes down, but it's really the only choice they had. High temperatures turn Seville into a ghost town on summer afternoons. Locals wait for the summer night to arrive, so we can expect a lot of public welcoming the race. Teams have said it's a extremely technical course adding further difficulty to a night course.

The first week travels east, across Andalucia, covering Marbella (2º day) Malaga (3º day) which is a really hard medium mountain stage, climbing first category Puerto del León twice. The new red jersey should change hands in Malaga. Then, four days of uneven terrain stages with an exciting finish expected in Murcia.

On Saturday at the end of the first week, the course gets interesting at the sunny beaches of Alicante. After 180 kilometers and six minor climbs the riders will face the short and steep Alto de Xorret del Catí, with some 20% gradients. Before leaving the Comunidad Valenciana, there is an interesting medium mountain stage finishing in Alcoy, a town famous for its Moros y Cristianos festival in the Spring.

Monday the 6th is a rest day in Catalonia. After a brief stop in Vilanova i la Gertrú (170.3 km), come the Pyrenees in the longest stage of this edition. There is only one Pyrenees mountaintop finish, beginning in Vilanova and where the last 62 kilometers are mostly uphill and once they enter Andorra, they will face the hardest part, as they climb Vallnord. Two more flat stages follow in Lleida and Burgos before a long weekend of pure climbing starting with 179 kilometers from Burgos to Cantabria. Following Peña Cabarga comes the stage all fans are waiting for, Lagos de Covadonga. Long time Vuelta fans will know its profile without even looking: it's all flat along the northern coast, they'll pass through Cangas de Onís and its Roman bridge before the almost 13 kilometers climb to summit at 1110 meters above sea level, cheered by thousands of people.
If Lagos de Covadonga doesn't inflict enough pain, the Queen Stage on Monday will complete the job. 180 kilometers from the biggest city in Asturias, Gijón, to the third straight mountaintop finish. Three first category climbs are included: Alto de San Lorenzo, Puerto de la Cobertoria and the brand new climb Cotobello. Recently discovered for cycling, but a popular place for paragliding, Cotobello has an average gradient of 8%. When these three days of suffering end, we will clearly see who has the legs to win this years Vuelta España and who chooses to withdraw during the rest day.


Leaving the North of Spain for the flat lands of Castille, the only individual time trial takes place in Peñafiel, in the heart of Ribera del Duero wine land. Two more or less flat stages in Salamanca and Toledo (beautiful old towns!) then the peloton will ride the last mountain stage, with an interesting innovation at the end. Then they climb to Navacerrada twice, but when the riders summit Navacerrada for the second time, they will continue climbing a few more kilometers to reach a point called La Bola del Mundo. Three kilometers at an average gradient of 12.4% and 21% in some sections is the perfect dessert for an exciting Vuelta.


VUELTAThe summit finish at La Bola del Mundo will welcome the last man to wear the leader's jersey of this editon. After that, he will only have to ride a hundred kilometers through Madrid where the remaining sprinters will fight the last battle and the winners in all classifications get their trophies. The 2010 route has received really positive reviews and comments because it offers tough climbs in all three weeks of race with some new and unpredictable stage ends.
Undoubtedly an interesting route for the 75th anniversary.


La Tomatina Tomato Fight in Bunyol August 25th 2010


TOMATINALa Tomatina tomato fight in Buñol near Valencia happens every year on the last Wednesday in August though the partying starts earlier in the week. The highlight of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11am and 1pm on that day.

The event has become one of the highlights on Spain's summer festivals calendar with thousands of people flocking to this little Valencian town for this chaotic event.

TOMATINAThe week-long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. On the night before, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest. It is tradition for the women to wear all white and the men to wear no shirts. This festival started in a casual way in 1945, but wasn't officially recognized until 1952.

In preparation for the dirty mess that will ensue, shopkeepers use huge plastic covers on their storefronts in order to protect them. They also use about 150,000 tomatoes, just about 40,000 kilos.
Such are the numbers going to La Tomatina that the event has become a victim of its own success. The sheer number of people means that it's extremely difficult to get anywhere near the central area where the tomato lorries arrive so you may well find yourself a few streets away from the main action. Never mind, there are plenty of people in the same boat and the street partying goes on no matter where you are.

TOMATINABunyol is a small village of some 9000 people whose population swells to some 30,000 on the day of La Tomatina. There is hardly any accommodation in the village itself so your best bet is to stay in a Hostel in Valencia or take a look at some Valencia Hotels. Be sure to book well in advance.

On the morning of the festival there are trains from Valencia Central Station, which is about 40km away, at eight minutes past the hour (check at just in case this has changed). There is no need to book tickets in advance and the journey takes 50 minutes.

TOMATINAThe actual tomato fight lasts little over an hour beginning at midday and continuing until shortly after 1pm. So the 8.08am, 9.08am or 10.08 trains will get you there in plenty time. The earlier the better as the trains do get full. Alternatively, you can arrive by local bus or rent a car though this might not be a great idea considering the mess you're likely to be in after the tomato battle.

Make sure you take a change of clothes for the return train journey - there are some public showers in Bunyol near the river.
History of La Tomatina
The festival is in honour of the town's patron saints, St. Louis Bertrand (San Luis Bertràn) and the Mare de Déu TOMATINAdels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary.
The tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Buñol since 1944 or 1945. No one is completely certain how this event originated. Possible theories on how the Tomatina began include a local food fight amongst friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a bad musician, or the chaotic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage. One of the most popular theories is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration. Another plausible and the most likely explanation dates back to 1945 when an annual parade of enormous figures with big heads (Gigantes y Cabezudos) was passing through the streets of Buñol.
It seems that some youngsters tried to join in the parade and accidentally knocked over one of the giants who got to his feet and started swinging out at everyone around him. In retaliation the youngsters grabbed some tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall and started throwing them at him until the police arrived to break things up.
The following year on the same last Wednesday of August these young people returned to the town hall square and started another tomato fight using their own tomatoes. Again the police intervened and in subsequent years the local council tried to ban the 'El día de la Tomatina' but with little success as the event continued to grow year after year reaching the ludicrous size it is today.
Rules of La Tomatina
The following rules have been set down by the Bunyol Town Council:
It is illegal to bring any kind of bottles or other objects that could cause an accident.
You must not tear t-shirts.
Tomatoes must be crushed before throwing so that they don't hurt anybody.
You must be careful to avoid the lorries which carry the tomatoes.
As soon as you hear the 2nd banger you must stop throwing tomatoes.
"Try to enjoy yourself as much as possible but respect these rules and the people. In the "tomatina" festival there has never been a mishap and we would like it to stay that way so everybody around the world can have a good time."




BEER DAYInternational Beer Day is a celebration of one of the world’s best-loved drinks. People in almost every country drink beer. Many beer-drinking countries say their country’s beer is the best. The International Beer Day website says the day “was created so that all of humanity could be united every August 5th, in celebration of beer!” The site encourages people to have a “beertastic” holiday. It suggests several ways of doing this, including giving beer as a gift. The first International Beer Day was celebrated in 2007. It is a newcomer on the holiday calendar but looks set to stay. The day’s creators said they wanted something different from the Munich Beer Festival, or Oktoberfest, which was for Germans. They wanted a worldwide event.

BEER POWERBeer is the world's oldest alcoholic drink. It is actually the third most popular drink, after water and tea. It is brewed from cereals like barley and wheat. Most beers are made in the same way around the world. There are two main types —lager beer and the darker ale. Beer is an important part of socializing. People often say it is a “social lubricant”. Many young people are drinking beer today and this is leading to problems in society. There are health problems of drinking too much beer. Beer is also blamed for yobbish behaviour. In Britain, youngsters who disturb the peace when drunk are called “lager louts”. For most of the world’s beer drinkers though, nothing can beat having a few beers with friends.

San Francisco, CA: That’s right, folks. Come this August 5th, Makers, Lovers and Sellers of beer all around the globe will finally have another reason to raise their frosty mugs. Along with the participation of hundreds of bars, restaurants, pubs and breweries worldwide, a group of enterprising young men in San Francisco have declared the aforementioned, International Beer Day!


SEX PROHIBITIONOne centralized festival, this is not. International Beer Day will catalyze thousands of smaller celebrations all over the country and internationally in celebration of all things beer, and an opportunity for the whole world to revel in the culture of beer, bars, and breweries. This day-long focus on the world’s favourite beverage will be akin to what takes place on St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo, except even better because International Beer Day is focused specifically on appreciating beer.

"International Beer Day is our chance to let the breweries and bars of the world know how much we appreciate them, all while participating in one of my favourite activities -- drinking beer!" proclaims co-organizer, Jesse Avshalomov.



DON'T WORRY DEARBEER PONGPerhaps even more than the beverage itself, International Beer Day is about celebrating the establishments who produce it, sell it and give folks a place to enjoy it- a single day that will undoubtedly send throngs of customers to participating watering holes, restaurants and breweries.

There’s no right or wrong way to do International Beer Day-- each establishment will choose how they want it to celebrate the day, but beer lovers can expect hosted beer tastings, pub-crawls, live bands, special offers on interesting beers, dance contests, trivia contests with beer prizes and tons of other self-launched events.
Avshalomov wraps it up, "International Beer Day is my love song to the brewing industry. These people work tirelessly to produce and provide thousands of unique and delicious beers for us to enjoy, and it’s about time we found a way to say thanks."

For more details visit





MOTOGPFriday 2nd to Sunday 4th July the Catalunya MotoGP takes place at Montmeló some 20km north of Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya. The first international event to be held there was the 1991 Spanish Formula One Grand Prix which remains the home of this event.

In 1992 the European Motorcycle Grand Prix took place at the same venue and from 1995 this annual event became known as the Catalunya MotoGP. The circuit is one of motor sport's most popular testing grounds allowing teams to become very familiar with its long straights and its range of corners.

The Catalunya MotoGP is the most stylish round on the race calendar. By the time the GP circus makes a second trip of the season to Spain the pace is hotting up and the tough are showing their mettle. The race takes place only one week after the Dutch TT being on a Saturday; the season is getting serious.

MOTOGPThere is no Valentino Rossi this year as he is out with a broken leg from Mugello. Unfortunately, MotoGP is no longer very entertaining as there are only 16 bikes on the grid but fortunately, MotoGP 2 has around 40 bikes and the 125cc have around between 30 & 40 bikes which makes for great racing. More overtaking in one race than an entire season of Formula 1!!
The 4.727 km (2.937-mile) track consisting of 5 left and 8 right corners as well as a long straight of 1047m was built for both Formula 1 and motorcycle GP racing, and this introduces a special complication for riders and technicians. The huge braking forces generated by the cars causes the tarmac to distort on the corner entries. Historically, this washboard effect has made things difficult for the suspension engineers and even more so for the riders.

Interestingly, the MotoGP machines clock higher top speeds on the long pit straight than the F1 cars, which are heavily encumbered by the enormous downforce created by their wings and bodywork.

MOTOGPThe track has few really slow corners, and the sweeping bends are made all the more difficult by changing gradients as the circuit runs up and down the hillside overlooking the massive pit and paddock complex. The medium/fast Campsa corner leading onto the back straight, for example, sits atop the crest of a rise and is unsighted. Although the modern layout might at first appear somewhat sterile, in fact this is one of the more challenging circuits from a technical standpoint, and a fine arena for high-class racing.

MOTOGPCircuit de Catalunya
The spectacular Montmelo circuit, situated in the hills outside Barcelona, is one of the most modern tracks in Europe. More than 100,000 fans attend this event and are well catered for. There are 17 well positioned grandstands offering superb views as well as 23 giant screens located throughout the public areas to keep you up to date so there's no need to miss any of the action. You can walk around the entire circuit and all the general admission areas. The catering facilities offer great food at reasonable prices and the toilets are numerous and clean. Its spectator facilities are amazing. Its grandstands offer superb views and giant TV screens keep you up to date with all the race action. Recent Winners
2009 Valentino Rossi - Yamaha
2008 Dani Pedrosa - Honda
2007 Casey Stoner - Ducati
2006 Valentino Rossi - Yamaha
2005 Valentino Rossi - Yamaha
2004 Valentino Rossi - Yamaha
2003 Loris Capirossi - Ducati
2002 Valentino Rossi - Honda
2001 Valentino Rossi - Honda
FRIDAY, 02 July
02 - 09:45 / 11:30 Pit Lane Visit Free practice
02 - 12:40 / 13:40 125 cc - 1st Session 02 - 13:55 / 14:55 MotoGP - 1st Session 02 - 15:10 / 16:10 Moto2 - 1st Session Saturday, 03 July
Free practice
03 - 09:00 / 09:40 125 cc - 2nd Session 03 - 09:55 / 10:55 MotoGP - 2nd Session 03 - 11:10 / 12:10 Moto2 - 2nd Session Qualifying session
03 - 13:00 / 13:40 125 cc - Qualifying Session 03 - 13:55 / 14:55 MotoGP - Qualifying Session 03 - 15:10 / 15:55 Moto2 - Qualifying Session Sunday, 04 July
Warm Up
04 - 08:40 / 09:00 125cc - Warm Up
04 - 09:10 / 09:30 Moto2 - Warm Up
04 - 09:40 / 10:00 MotoGP - Warm Up Races
04 - 11:00 125 cc - Race (22 Laps)
04 - 12:15 Moto2 - Race (23 Laps)
04 - 14:00 MotoGP - Race (25 Laps)
GP CIRCUITGETTING THERE. Only 32 km from Barcelona and 18 km from the Maresme Coast, the Circuit is located between two major communication roads. Careful sign-posting around the Circuit helps visitors to reach their destination without problems.
When travelling by car, follow the C-17 road (exit Montmeló), or the AP-7 highway. If you choose the AP-7 toll road, you have several exits to reach the Circuit: 13, 14 and 15.
The best way of getting there by public transport from Barcelona is to take a local train (cercanias) from any of the following three stations: Sants, Passeig de Gràcia or El Clot. The train will be going to Macanet-Massanes but you must get off at Montmeló. Montmeló is on the green number 2 line, 5 stops after El Clot.
There are trains every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 40 minutes. Transfers are available from the Montmeló train station to the Circuit de Catalunya as the walk is about 30 minutes. Some bus companies arrange shuttle transfers from Barcelona to the Circuit de Catalunya but their websites don't seem to appear in English. Try the Sagales office at Passeig de Sant Joan, 52.


fira d'artesania pinell de brai 12-13 June 2010




PinellArt, a craft fair which takes place in El Pinell de Brai, is in its third year. The aim is to demonstrate the variety of handmade crafts that are in the Lands of the Ebro and Catalunya. It is growing year after year by increasing the number of activites and demonstraions in order to include all the family.


The Fair's organization, made up by the Townhall of El Pinell de Brai and the PinellArt. The first thing was to name the Fair and as a result it was decided to call it PinellArt, unanimously voted by all members. Next was to design the logo that would give identity to the Fair, work that was entrusted to the craftsmen of the village, and it focused on a graphic image of PinellArt profile of a floating staircase located in the cellar Cooperative Pinell. Many activities would also be carried out in and around the Cooperative.

The Association, in PinellArt, wish to show many trades and handcrafts many of which are rarely used in present times from the village, from Terres de l'Ebre and from the whole Catalan territory.
The next aim was to find different lines of funding the first of them through several administrations: Crafts of Catalonia, Department of Culture and Media, Tarragona, County Council and Town of Terra Alta Pinell de Brai, among others.The second was the involvement of private companies and shops in the village. Without all the support of all the these the fair could not go ahead.

pinellbrayNext local craftsmen began to contact potential craftsmen from other towns who could best represent the trades of selected monographs, and become the showcase of PinellArt.
In addition there are leisure and cultural activities that complement the exhibition including: music performances, performances in the open ... and the logistics of hosting and maintenance of the artisans and the collaborators of the fair.
With great enthusiasm and involvement, from not just members of the Board, but also of the council and the entire village, dedication to collaborate and promote any act or event that could give the little town of 1,100 inhabitants, more life and identity, our first Craft Fair PinellArt.
We hope this project will consolidate and endure over time, with the same enthusiasm and respect for nature with which s' has engendered.
Information: Ajuntament del Pinell de Brai, 43594 El Pinell de Brai (Catalunya)
Tel. 977 426 344 / 977 426231

Celler del Pinell / The Cathedral of Wine


The municipality of El Pinell de Brai, situated in the region of Terra Alta, hides an exquisite architectural treasure: a wine cellar built at the turn of the last century amidst the surge of farming cooperatives. Many were built in Catalonia. But without a doubt no other achieved the magnificence which is to be reflected in the majestic cooperative wine cellar of El Pinell de Brai. This building is the pinnacle of farming work achieved by the architect from Tarragona, Cesar Martinell in 1919. Martinell designed not only the building itself but also the spaces to develop the production process, the machinery distribution, the fermentation processes, the design of liquid containers and the isolation systems.
The design of the building takes its inspiration from the traditional construction techniques of Catalonia. Martinell used profusely the Catalan "totxo" (brick) around the windows, columns and ceramics for decoration.
The ceramic designs, made by Xavier Nogués, represent scenes of traditional treatment of grapes and wine production.
On the 7th February 2002 this building became part of the architectural heritage, in the category of historical artisitc monument.
Guided tour with tasting.
pinellartThe visit consists of a guided tour which lasts approximately 45 minutes, in which the architectural structure, history of the building an other processes of wine and oil production are explained from the beginning to date. At the end of the tour you are offered a taste of red and white wine, vermouth, mistela, oil and vinegar from the cellar.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 18:30 Sundays from 11:00 to 14:00
Summer opening times ( June to October):Monday to Sunday 11:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00
It is best though to call first to make sure
Prices for 2010 Adults (12 years and above) 3,70€ groups 15 and above 3,10€ children under 12's free


towel day may 25 2010

Towel Day: A Tribute to Douglas Adams
Monday May 14, 2001 06:00am PDT

douglas adams


Douglas Adams is missed by his fans worldwide. So that all his fans everywhere can pay tribute to this genius, I propose that two weeks after his passing (May 25, 2001) be marked as "Towel Day". All Douglas Adams fans are encouraged to carry a towel with them for the day.

So long Douglas, and thanks for all the fish!
– D Clyde Williamson, 2001-05-14


hitchhikers guide to the galaxyTowel day, held every year on May 25, is a commemoration day for Douglas Adams, the brilliant author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. The idea is that you take your towel everywhere you go, as — according to The Guide — “a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have”.

Douglas, who indisputably died too soon, had the idea for the book while lying drunk in a field on a camping-site: “The idea for the title first cropped up, while I was lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1971. Not particularly drunk, just the sort of drunk you get when you have a couple of stiff Gössers after not having eaten for two days straight.”

towel daydon't panic

Douglas’ last book, “Salmon of Doubt”; one of the chapters is a transcript of a fascinating talk he gave in 1998, which is entitled “Is there an artificial god?” In this talk Douglas succinctly explains the origins and purposes of religions as well as how technology and scientific progress — he differentiates between “four ages of sand” — shaped our view of the world and religions. Very inspiring words… a must read (hear) for any carbon-based, ape-descendant, bipedal life form.
don't panicThe original quote that referenced the greatness of towels is found in Chapter 3 of Adams' work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
“ A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

hitch a lifttowel day

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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Saint Isidore -the Farmer Feast May 15th 2010

saint isidoreSan Isidro is the patron saint of peasants and laborers and is also the patron saint of Madrid. This festivity has been an official festival in Madrid since 1947 and while technically the feast runs from May 8th to the 15th, like good Spaniards they stretch the fun and always start earlier and end later. So that Madrid's biggest "fiesta" is celebrated yearly starting on the Friday before the 8th and running until the following Sunday, 9 days of Saintly jubilee throughout the Comunity of Madrid.

In Peñíscola on 15th May, to mark the festivity in honour of Saint Isidre, there are popular events such as open-air dances and heifer bullfights that take place in the square with the same name as the Saint, and other activities such as pulling and dragging horses.

Saint Isidore's feast is celebrated in Madrid and many other towns in Spain, with ringing church bells and streets decorated for a procession in his honour. Isidore was born to very poor parents near Madrid, about the year 1070. He was in the service of the wealthy Madrid landowner Juan de Vargas on a farm in the vicinity of Madrid. Juan de Vargas would later make him bailiff of his entire estate of Lower Caramanca.

saint isidoresaint isidoreEvery morning before going to work, Isidore was accustomed to hearing a Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer while an angel was doing the plowing for him.

On another occasion, his master saw an angel plowing on either side of him, so that Isidore's work was equal to that of three of his fellow-laborers. Isidore is also said to have brought back to life his master's deceased daughter, and to have caused a fountain of fresh water to burst from the dry earth in order to quench his master's thirst.

sain isidoreSt Isidore married Maria Torribia, a canonized saint, who is known as Santa María de la Cabeza in Spain because her head (cabeza in Spanish) is often carried in procession, especially during droughts. Isidore and Maria had one son, who died in his youth. On one occasion their son fell into a deep well and, at the prayers of his parents, the water of the well is said to have risen miraculously to the level of the ground, bringing the child with it, alive and well. Isidore and Maria then vowed continence and lived in separate houses.

Isidore died on May 15, 1130, at his birthplace close to Madrid. When King Philip III of Spain was cured of a deadly disease by touching the relics of the saint, the king replaced the old reliquary with a costly silver one.
saint isidoreIn art, Saint Isidore is portrayed as a peasant holding a sickle and a sheaf of corn. He might also be shown with a sickle and staff; as an angel plows for him; giving a rosary to children by a well; mattock at his feet; water springing from the well; striking water from dry earth with an angel plowing in the background; before a cross; or with an angel and white oxen near him.

He is the patron of Madrid, Spain, farmers and farm laborers, and the U.S. National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

Like all Spanish feasts or fiestas, there are special dishes to mark the occasion. For this feast, Red Cabbage San Isidro Style - Lombarda de San Isidro is typically served. Cabbage is baked with apples for their sweetness, as well as potatoes, onions and ham. It is a good side dish that has sweet and salty tastes to stimulate the taste buds. The recipe can be found on "Treat your Tastebuds" page.

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XII Edition 18 to 30 May 2010

AUGUSTFrom the 18th to the 30th of May, Tarragona is holding the twelve edition of the Annual Festival of Roman History, better known as Tàrraco Viva, which is organised by the Dissemination Service of the Tarragona Museum of History. For almost two weeks, a whole range of events will commemorate the city's Roman past.

And the events are indeed many and varied: cavalry parades, gladiator fights, musical and theatrical performances, fairs of various products, lectures, areas at which to taste the cooking of the time, guided walks to learn about the myths and beliefs of the Ancient Romans… And all this in the unique context of a city that preserves excellent examples of the rich architectural and sculptural heritage of ancient Tarraco.


Some of these events require prior booking or invitation; others do not; some are free and some are not; and many of them are held at monuments that have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
As well as submerging the visitor in the atmosphere of the Ancient Roman city, Tàrraco Viva also lets you get closer to Ancient Roman times in general, providing information on museums, monuments and archaeological sites in different European countries.

At Tarragona, the Roman trail is of utmost importance, and not by accident. The Romans headed for the Iberian Peninsula in 218 B.C., disembarking at the ancient Greek colony of Emporion (today Empúries), and that same year they founded Tarraco, setting up a military camp there that, over time, became the most important one in the Roman conquest of Hispania. From then on, Tarraco grew and grew, thanks to the influx of traders and all sorts of people, until it became the capital of Hispania Tarraconensis. But the biggest boom period began with the two-year stay (26-25 B.C) of the Roman Emperor Augustus, and it continued through to the middle of the third century A.D. The Roman Emperor Augustus lived in Tarraco for some time.

So it is not in the least surprising that the monumental complex of Tarraco was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. It preserves a range of architectural pieces of the first order, starting with the city walls that, in the past, had a perimeter of four thousand metres. Of this impressive construction, the oldest of all, over eight hundred metres still remain. Aside from the walls, some of the most outstanding places in the centre or the outskirts of today's Tarragona are the amphitheatre, the circus, the theatre, the provincial and colonial forums, the aqueduct, Bera's arch, the Scipios' tower and the Centcelles mausoleum.

Among the many activities in Tàrraco Viva, there is one, to be held on the 28th of May, on Roman games. Because the Romans, as well as devoting themselves to politics and to the organization of a vast territory, also had fun, of course. In terms of the games and the kids' way of amusing themselves (ludi minores), it did depend on their social condition to some extent. Kids from humble families played at hide-and-seek and sandcastles and made up games with stones and little bones…, they resorted to inventiveness; while the children from 'good' families had a whole range of very varied games: dolls, miniatures, hoops etc...

Historical places to visit in & around tarragona


CASA CASTELLARNAUCasa Castellarnau- was built at the beginning of the 15th century and was home to one of the city's most influential families until the 19th century. In 1542 Emperor Charles I resided here during his stay in the city. Inside the house you can see the architectural styles of various periods. On the ground floor there is a series of pointed arches dating from between the 14th and 15th centuries. From the same period we have the patio and the stairway with its Gothic columns and capitals. During the 18th century, both the facade and the interior of the building were altered. Today it is the property of the city and can be visited as a museum.

Roman Circus- was, without a doubt, the most popular mass public spectacle in the Roman world. It was used for racing chariots, normally pulled by two or four horses (bigae or quadrigae). The building dates from the reign of Domitian in the 1st century AD and was part of the grand provincial monumental complex, in which it occupied the lower terrace. It is exceptionally well preserved. Tarraco's Roman circus is approximately 325 metres long and between 100 and 115 metres in width. Current archaeological knowledge indicates that the building lost its original function, at least partially, during the 5th century. Some of the vaults were then used as dwellings.


Colonial Forum- was the nerve centre of Roman Tarraco. The city's main streets led to it and it was the focal point for all public activities. As such, it became the meeting place for the local elite, as well as being the administrative centre. It was, in summary, the centre of the social and political life of the colony. The Local Forum was located in the lower part of the Roman city, in the residential area, half way between the provincial administration sector and the port. Today it is limited by Cardenal Cervantes, Lleida & Gasòmetre Streets.

ROMAN QUARRYRoman Quarry- In ancient times, stone was one of the main materials used in building. Each city had its own local quarries, although it was quite common to import types of stone not found in the area, usually by sea. The most common imported material was marble. Mainly calcareous stone was quarried in the area around Tarragona. We know of about a dozen quarries, the most spectacular of which, both for its size and its state of preservation, is El Mèdol. El Mèdol is a large crater, some 200 metres long and between 10 and 40 metres wide, excavated over a long period of quarrying during Roman times. At its centre a needle of rock has been left unexcavated. The stone from El Mèdol is a golden-yellow coloured Miocene lumaquela. It was used on a large number of Tarraco's most important buildings. It is also thought that the quarry was used in medieval times. It has been calculated that approximately 50,000 cubic metres of rock were cut from the quarry.

AMPITHEATREThe Amphitheatre- completed the trio of buildings designed to hold spectacles in (theatre, circus and amphitheatre), which were the symbols of an important Roman city and capital of an Imperial province. Its construction was made possible by a donation from a provincial flamen (Imperial priest) whose name has been lost to us, but who we know to have lived at the beginning of the 2nd century AD. The Amphitheatre is located just outside the walled city. This location was not chosen by accident. It is very close to the Via Augusta, just before the road enters the city, and near the beach, where the animals used in the spectacles were disembarked. Two types of spectacle were held here: gladiator combats (munera) and wild animal hunts or combats (venationes). It was also used to execute prisoners who had been condemned to death.

AQUEDUCTAqueduct- In Roman times Tarraco had two aqueducts running into the city. The first took water from the River Gaià near Pont d'Armentera, while the second led from the River Francolí. There was possibly a third aqueduct, although we have very little information on it and we do not know if its was an independent conduit or a bifurcation of the Francolí aqueduct.

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Most pastry/cake shops have Easter chocolate sculptures in their windows and are amazing to see. Definately for the kids and chocolate lovers. This is an important tradition in the Catalan region and the development over the years has turned it from a cake with an egg in it to serious chocolate constructions and simple eggs to stylish sculptures.. The consumption in Catalonia has apparently grown from 130,000 in 1930 to up to 600,000 now each Easter. That is a serious business.




In Barcelona, some of the best ones that can be seen are from Oriol Balaguer and Enric Rovira. The Orioles’ chocolate displays are innovative, fun, playful but in a very stylish and sophisticated way. You can see the skill that goes into his products and they are so simply packaged that the chocolate speaks for itself. The designs range from Spiderman’s head, to egg towers, an Easter egg with a cracked egg on top, a delightful strawberry, and many more. Enric Rovira has a great shop in Barcelona as well, and on display for Easter are some simple Easter eggs decorated beautifully with colour and marbled and very simply packaged as well. What you notice about Enric’s work is that he uses things specific to the city of Barcelona for his designs. For example the pavement has a specific pattern througout Barcelona and that is the design of his chocolate squares. Also he has others which correspond to the designs of Gaudi.




BARCELONA CHOCOLATEAnother place to visit is Cacao Sampaka. This chocolaterie has a couple of outlets in Barcelona and if understood correctly they make all their own chocolate from the bean. In one of their outlets near the Rambla you can see a large picture that highlights step by step how to make an Easter Egg. Their Eggs were simple and well made and colourful to the eye and the packaging is also simple and stylish.

Magnificant Easter choclate displays though can be found in towns all over Catalunya.


semana santa- easter week good friday april 2nd 2010


The high point of the liturgical calendar is not, as might be supposed, the birth of Jesus, but the Easter resurrection signifying Jesus's triumph over death and the promise of eternal life. The actual date for this celebration varies. At he Nicea Council in 325 it was decided that it should take place on the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring equinox (21st March). Because of this, the time difference involved may be as great as a month, Easter being celebrated between 22nd March and 25th April. Thus the dates for Shrovetide, Lent, Holy Week, the Ascension, Whit Sunday, Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi are fixed accordingly.


CROSSThere are many icons for which Spain is known around the world: bullfighting, flamenco, Franco, the running of the bulls, Las Fallas, the Inquisition,...and this brings us to the religion for which Spain is known is predominantly Catholic. Being Spaniard almost equals Catholic.... Of all of the Catholic traditions which are celebrated throughout the year, none is most important than the Passion of Christ or Easter Week, which in Spanish is called Semana Santa o Pascua (Holy Week). There are only three countries which are recognized for their ritual celebration of Easter; these being Israel, meaning Jerusalem, Italy, with special attention to Rome, and Spain with special note to the southern region of Andalusia, but it is also true that many other parts of Spain celebrate it as fervently as well. Beginning with the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) and ending with Lunes de Pascua (Easter or Paschal Monday), Spain is filled with laughter and tears celebrating friends, colour, and life itself.
SANTA SEMANATo the solemn, persistent beat of a single drum, hundreds of men wearing pointed hoods that cover their faces parade through narrow streets bearing huge crucifixes, whilst women dressed in black stand silently and watch. This is the Deep South, not of America but of Spain, where unique Easter processions will soon get underway. To be in Spain at Easter is to witness a series of ancient rituals that go to the heart of a country with a fiercely religious history.
Whilst it is claimed that Spain is sliding into secularism and its youngsters are largely ignoring their Roman Catholic backgrounds, in Holy Week or Semana Santa, there is not a village or city that is untouched by some form of public display to mark the predominant church's most important feast: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And the further south you go the more elaborate and passionate are the parades. Pointed hoods, reminiscent of those worn by the Klu Klux Klan are used by members of the parades and are said to represent penitents too shamed by the crucifixion to show their faces. From these hooded penitents who march to the solemn beat of a single drum on Good Friday, to the joyous celebrations and church services of Easter Sunday a week later, the streets resound to the sounds of historic ceremonies that have marked this holy time for centuries.
SANTA SEMANAAlmost every town and city in Spain will have their own Easter celebrations and almost every resident will be involved in some way. In the major cities the processions are of huge proportions, often stretching for miles. Each area, city and town has its own accent on its celebrations. They all differ but in common they all portray life, colour, culture, music and dance, all with a very religious meaning. Here are some of the highlights to visit.
On Easter Sunday in Castile-La Mancha as in Castile-Leon, and in other parts of Madrid, Andalusia and the Basque Country, a rag or straw effigy representing Judas is burnt. In some places it is filled with fireworks, producing a most spectacular effect at the moment of truth --normally on a bonfire or even under a hail of gunfire.
Cuenca (Cuenca): One of the most beautiful cities of Southeastern Spain in the early hours of the morning of Holy Friday, begins by portraying several scenes of the Passion of the Christ, which take on a vibrant realism. Mobs forms, like the ones that must have formed that fateful day, and yell out various insults and mocking remarks; this is known as the "Procession of the Drunkards" and it is normal to drink ample amounts of "resolí", a sort of moonshine. This is in complete contrast to the procession which takes place the following day, called the "Silent Procession", in which utter silence portrays the despair sensed for the death of the Savior. Meanwhile in the cathedral and churches you can hear Bach or Hendel being played, as well as other tunes which are considered of a sacred nature.
SANTA SEMANA SEVILLELa Bajada del Ángel (The Descent of the Angel) is celebrated in a fashion common to Aranda de Duero (Burgos), Peñafiel (Valladolid) and Tudela (Navarre). A child dressed in white and crowned, representing an angel on Resurrection Sunday is lowered through pulleys to the image of the Virgin, then by removing the veil that covers her face reveals to the Virgin the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Doves are then set free followed by a deafening outcry by the city folk who witness the event.
Of note in Catalonia are the caramelles, traditional Easter hymns usually sung in the street, while all sorts of food is collected in a basket. During this period the Fiesta del Bollu (Cake Festival) is held in Avilés (Asturias), the vueltas rocieras (open-air festival) in Castilleja de la Cuesta (Sevilla), Lord's Day in Finisterre with the performance of a sacramental play (La Coruña), Firewater Day in Portomarín (Lugo), the Trujillo Passover in Trujillo (Cáceres) and the Toro embolao in Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz).
Easter Monday and Tuesday (and even Easter Sunday in some places) are notable for the amount of outdoor festivals, where it is typical to eat chocolate buns or cakes in specific regions. In Murcia there is the Spring Festival, with the Orchard Proclamation, and the Burial of the Sardine, in Pola de Siero (Asturias) the Festival of Painted Eggs can be seen, and in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) the Mondas ceremony takes place on the Saturday. On the Sunday following Easter (known as Low Sunday or Quasimodo Sunday) San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria) stages the Folía ceremony accompanied by the local Picayos group and the Charles V dancers. On the Monday the Miracle Plays by San Vicente Ferrer are performed in Valencia.
Elche (Alicante): At the procession of the Hallelujahs, the residents throw multiple coloured confetti to the paso of the Resurrected Christ, and to the Virgin of the Asunción.
Gandía (Valencia): On the Eve of Holy Friday, or Viernes Santo or Pascua, people from all over Spain, come to see the procession of the paso of the "Christ of the Flagellation" (or flogging). There are diverse other acts that are worth experiencing, all of them culminating on Easter or Resurrection Sunday with the procession of the "Glorious Encounter."
HOLY WEEKThere are many other processions and customs that are celebrated all over our geography, but it would be almost inhumanely possible to list every single one. But as we said at the beginning of this page, Andalusia is the best known region of Spain, Seville being the predominant site of celebration. For its sites, scenes and the fervent ad-lib flamenco songs and cante hondo. Sevillians feel Semana Santa as few other places in the world can compare. With more than 100 pasos (differing images), it is impossible to be in the midst of these celebrations and not be caught in the pain and sheer extolling outcries of people all over the city. Incense, song, feasting and fasting, all bombard your senses purifying the soul, and leaving you both tired and rested, towards sheer turmoil and in complete peace.
Therefore, Semana Santa in Spain is an experience that will move you and push your senses to their limit and suck the life out of you, and then replenish you back to sheer happiness in a glorious experience that is only repeated once a year.




barcelona sitges medalsBarcelona Sitges Vintage Car Rally 20 & 21 march 2010

20 & 21 March 2010 52nd edition. Since 1959, the International Vintage Car Rally, that takes place in March, is a veritable automobile museum on wheels, starting at Sant Jaume Square in Barcelona, continuing down the Garraf coasts and arriving at Fragata Beach Sitges, where it is welcomed by Sitgetans and visitors alike. It is truly an event worth watching.

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Put 70 old clunkers (gleaming vintage cars), an idyllic seaside road and a 45km race together and what do you have? The Sitges Vintage Car Rally. If retro vehicles rev your engine, this is certainly the event for you: no car younger than 85 years old can participate (1924 is the cutoff year). So if you have a car built before 1924 then why not enter it in the Barcelona to Sitges International Vintage Car Rally.
The rally itself takes two days and snakes along the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Aiguadolc at Port de Sitges.
Route 45 km - Barcelona, La Rambla, Plaça Catalunya, the Paral.lel and the Gran Via. The procession will then twist along the Costa Garraf by L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Cornella de Llobregat, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Viladecans, Castelldefels and Gava, to the port of Aiguadolç in Sitges.
On Saturday the racers proudly display their vehicles at the Passeig dels Tillers in the Parc de la Ciutadella on the first morning and at the downtown Plaça Sant Jaume the next. When it comes to the rally itself (which begins at 11:00 on the second day) and after a breakfast hosted at the City Hall by the Rally Vintage Car International Barcelona-Sitges Grand Prix City Audi sponsor, speed is not the essence—the quality of the vehicles and vintage clothes of their owners are considered more important.
The competition winners are not just the fastest, but the ones with the most original automobiles. The winner of the race depends more upon the car itself than the time taken to cover the distance, with extra points awarded for dressing up in the appropriate vintage attire in accordance with the times of the car.
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In 1959, and thanks to the initiative of a group of Sitgetans united under Foment de Turisme de Sitges (Sitges Tourism Promotion), the Barcelona-Sitges International Vintage Car Rally was born. It was a tradition at every rally, participants are given a medal, and strangely on the front of the of the first edition a Pegasus Touring 'Tibidabo' was portrayed which even today would not be eligible to participate, because it was not built before 1924.



fallas valenciaFallas de Valencia 3rd week of March


All the fun of the what is a boisterous week of riotous colour, cracking street entertainment and fantastic fireworks is what you’re after, head to Valencia for the inimitable Las Fallas festival Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the most spectacular, complete fiesta on earth.
Las Fallas is a boisterous seven-day festival in the province of Valencia that culminates on 19 March every year, on the feast day of San Jose.


Valencia's biggest festival is a riotous week of celebration, with a myriad of larger-than-life effigies, firework displays that light up the streets of the Spanish town. The main attractions of the festival are undoubtedly the fallas - colourful papier-mâché figures, often satirical in nature, that are built in the city streets.

fallasFigures of historical and contemporary politicians and actors are commonly depicted in the fallas and the artists often make use of the opportunity to depict a point of view, in a humorous and almost child-like fashion. Saddam Hussein, George Bush and Tony Blair were tossed onto the pyre in 2003. Over 700 of these papier-mâché monuments, some stretching to 60ft in height, are adored by festival goers over the week and are burnt to a cinder on the last night, the "Night of Fire". On March 19th, everything starts and everything ends because with the last ashes, the dream of the Fallas of the upcoming year begins.This is where monumental cartoon figures that Valencians spend a year building, go up in flames in a ritual of fire that goes back to pagan times.

fallasIt is intended as a tribute to St. Joseph, patron saint of the carpenters' guild, where – it is said - the tradition arose from. The tradition of burning the fallas came from an age old practice where carpenters would accumulate their wood shavings into huge bonfires as a tribute to San Jose, the patron saint of carpenters.

The first falla is set alight at precisely 10pm on the final night. Don't miss the burning of the main falla in the town centre at 1am. As you can imagine, it is the busiest night for the Spanish fire fighters who keep the massive flames under control.

Valencians, being world renowned for their fireworks, spare no expense as the sky is lit with a brilliant fireworks extravaganza almost every night.
The Fallas are not just fireworks, though. During the fiesta days - and even weeks beforehand - the streets are alive with fireworks displays, music, bands, artistic lighting, street performances, parades...


It is also a fiesta with a complex, well-tuned business and administrative structure: the Junta Central Fallera (or Fallas Central Board) is its governing body and organizes all official events. Every monument is set up by an association called a "comisión fallera" (Fallas Committee), managed by its members, the "Falleros". During each Fallas Year (which officially begins on March 20th and ends the following March 19th), they meet periodically to decide on the fiesta's main lines of action.


The total number of Falleros and Falleras now easily surpasses a hundred thousand people. In fact, the whole of Valencia takes part in the Fallas Festival, which has reached a high status in the city's social and cultural life.
It is good, clean, family fun. The satire is biting and sexually explicit – a Spanish version of Spitting Image. Valencians are particularly cynical about national government and Catalan political shenanigans. Helpful notes explain the nuances – in Valencian! Thankfully the message of most fallas is self-evident, with plenty of them poking fun at modern life. The old town teems with people. Traffic is excluded during Las Fallas, so this is pedestrian paradise. But it’s not exactly quiet without cars, as fireworks abound all over. The Nit de Foc: a spectacular fireworks display along the Paseo de la Alameda starts at 1.30am the night explodes in psychedelic colours. The pyrotechnic orgy goes on for a full 30 minutes. Finally, the last fuse is lit, the deep growl of bombardment subsides and the sky goes dark for another year. Many visitors say that they haven’t seen anything of Valencia – only fallas, fallas and more fallas. But that is exactly how it should be. Las Fallas are a unique experience on their own. To see Valencia itself, best come back another time.
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taronja de xertaTARONJA DE XERTA 6-7th March 2010

orange horseXerta is a town on the banks of the Ebro. It borders the municipalities of Benifallet Tivenys, Paűls, and Charles Alfara Aldover. In order to achieve a higher degree of local development and for integrating the region, Xerta Council, in the Baix Ebre, started to create this local fair.

The XERTA CITRUS FAIR will be held during the weekend of 6 and 7 March 2010 and will be located at the Casal Municipal Xertolí, sports hall and the areas around it.

They have chosen this time to coincide with the seasonal production of their star product of the area the orange and in particular the orange variety "Navelate".
It also promotes a wider selection of their products: oranges, mandarins and lemons, and other local products from artisans, as well as the normal tourist celebrations.

Xerta has quite an abundance of water from the Ebro, which periodically floods their orchards and helps to fertilized their trees, part of the orange groves are irrigated by wells and mountain streams which are channeled into irrigation ditches which cross the village and the orchards to distribute the water.

The historic lawsuit maintained the right to use the Xerta water between Xerta and Paul. Peter of Aragon gave this favorable ruling to Xerta, in 1398. This water irrigates about 172 hectares of land divided into Horta de Dalt and Horta de Baix.
xertaThe irrigated lands that characterise the irrigated Xertolina, soaked by the river Ebro, help cultivate a variety of mandarin oranges with a sublime flavor and a quantity of juice envied by the rest of the villages in the Ebro regions. The Xerta farmers are not lovers of artificial fertilizers and animal manure is used to improve the soil and the fruit and the water from the Ebro River is rich in nutrients as well.

In short, Xerta oranges are the best in the area. And we know thousands of consumers come to Xerta to buy the fruit.

You will find many stalls along the road sides to make it easy for visitors to buy these much appreciated oranges. The C-12 passes through Xerta and consequently a large number of holidaymakers who head to the coast (Salou, the Ebro delta, Peniscola) (especially over the Easter period) stop to buy "bags and bags" of Xerta oranges.

This year the Xerta citrus fair will have two areas, Casal, a pavilion and food tastings, where you can enjoy various dishes and products that are on display, the other area is a marquee which will be erected on the sports ground and will be called a "multi-tent" which will include all other exhibitors.



Xerta has suffered numerous floods, given its location next to the Ebro. A record of the flood levels can be seen in ceramic tiles in the church. One of the worse floods being the one of 1787, which was one of the most disastrous that caused the flooding in total of 110 houses.

The irrigation channel on the right bank of the Ebro Bonifica Xerta is mainly used for the irrigation and cultivation of vegetables, animal fodder and fruit trees such as peach, apricot, apple, pear, orange, lemon and Mandarine. In the predominantly rainfed areas you will find olive, carob, almond trees and cereal crops. In recent years, cattle farms, poultry and pigs have been introduced.

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Every Saturday morning is the weekly market where you can find produce from the local gardens, citrus fruits and clothing. The most notable trade comes from the typical local produce being sold from road side stalls.



THE AZUD. The most relevant historical Dam is undoubtedly the AZUD located in the middle of a river. A medieval work of some 370m long and 7m high, allowing the capture of two irrigation canals.
The mill of the XVI century AZUD. It is one of the few standing examples of such constructions of this era.
The Church of the Assumption and St. Martin has a twentieth-century neo-Romanesque bell tower, topped with 4 dogs who watch the 4 vertices. It was rebuilt in 1859, although you can still see something of the early century construction XVII.
Route Greenway
Route of Santiago de Ebro: On foot or bicycle. Starting in the town of Deltebre and passing through Xerta, leading onto the greenway from the Val de Zafan.
Path sources: Trip to BICILET mountain about seven miles where you can visit the lake and fountain New ossuary, watch out for the herds of bulls and cows.

•Major Festivals (11 November): Celebration in honor of its patron, St. Martin.
•Summer Festivals (25 July): traditional festival of the bulls in the street.

Xerta preserves the tradition of fogasseta, typical food of the peasants, a round bread or a tortilla with artichokes, asparagus and sausage, l 'plain rice, Grilled meats or Baldan rice with vegetables. Of course there is high quality citrus fruit. The bakery owes its fame to the well known Xerta nougat plus many other local cakes.

For more information visit:



Valentines Day


History of Valentines Day

valentineEvery year on February 14th we collectively bestow upon our loved ones mass quantities of flowers, chocolate confections, and other gifts of passion. There are so many greeting cards exchanged in the name of love on this day that you can almost hear local forests groan. So why is it we celebrate Valentines Day?

The history of valentines day is actually a bit of a mystery but there are a few facts and myths that have been handed down over the years. For starters, Saint Valentine has been associated with the holiday. Who was this saint? Let the mystery begin. The Catholic Church currently recognizes at least 3 different saints with the name Valentine, one of whom was actually buried after his death ON February 14th. From the stand point of history, they are all recognized as having been martyred for various reasons.

soul matesStories suggest Valentine was put to death for performing marriages after marriage was outlawed for young men by Emperor Claudius. Some say he was responsible for sending the first valentine himself when he sent a note to a girl he had fallen in love and signed it "from your valentine". Yet others say he was killed for helping Christians escape from Roman prisons.

Why do we celebrate it on February 14th? One theory is that Valentines Day was manufactured in order to displace the pagan holiday of Lupercalia.

valentinesRegardless of what you elect to believe, what we do know is this. February 14th has become a day for celebrating your love for friends and family, and we at cannot find anything wrong with that!

Valentines Day Massacre

On February 14th, 1929 one of the most notorious mob hits in history orchestrated by crime lord Al Capone occurred. Al Capone, along with his associate Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn had a meeting earlier in the year to discuss what to do about Bugs Moran, a rival gangster in Chicago. Both had survived direct or sponsored attempts by Moran against their lives and they had had enough. After locating where a contingent of the Moran gang held up, a plan was hatched to utilize a stolen police car and uniforms to infiltrate the location. On the morning of February 14th, Valentines Day, the plan went into affect.


valentineThere are conflicting reports as to whether Bugs Moran was near the scene or not but one thing is certain around 10:30am, 4 men, two of whom were wearing stolen police uniforms, entered the SMC Cartage Company located at 2122 North Clark Street and carried out the plan hatched by Capone and McGurn with lethal expediency. 6 of the 7 men inside died at the scene, while Frank Gusenberg managed to stay alive for several hours but refused to assist police and died later that day.
While the events on that Valentine morning did in fact weaken the Moran gang and pushed Capone further into the books of gangster lore, it did not have the ultimate conclusion which was the assassination of Bugs himself. As I hinted at earlier, there are conflicting reports as to whether Bugs was at the scene that day. Some say he was simply running late and never arrived, while others say he showed up but saw the police car out front so stayed away. The hit occured when it did because a lookout thought he saw Bugs but it appears to simply be a case of mistaken identity as one of the men inside had a simliar build and features as Maron.

valentinesValentine’s Day in Spain is marked by great festivities every where. Valentine’s Day Festivities in Spain is undertaken in truly Spanish style with extravagant
arrangements made a month before the usherance of this spring festival. Elaborately designed traditional clothes are put on sale for both men and women who look forward to spend an evening dedicated to Spanish dance and music. The most common custom followed around in Spain, during the Valentine’s Day, is the practice of presenting gifts to his wife or loved ones in wonderfully designed and personalized gift baskets of red roses. One of the most popular Valentine’s Day traditions in Spain is the exchange of flowers, chocolates and cards. Some young couples also look forward to this occasion as the perfect time to exchange bows with their partners. Months before the coming of Valentine’s Day, visitors throng to this lovely country to witnesses the marvelous Valentine’s Day attractions in Spain held especially in the city of Barcelona. Since it’s a holiday time, people take a day off from their daily chores and visit the various Valentine’s Day getaways in Spain with their families, friends and enjoy a great time by indulging in diverse merrymaking activities.


sitges carnivalsitges carnival 11th to 17th feb 2010

sitges carnivalCarnival has to be Sitges' wildest party. Even though it is on in February it is still the hottest party in town! On the most popular days you will find more than 300,000 partygoers dancing on the major streets across the town. The busy months of July and August look positively dead! Gay boys and girls from the 4 corners of the world descend on our little town and party the week away!

Despite the fact that it is often called the ‘Gay Carnival’, straights and gays alike will enjoy the debauchery and fun.

Catalonians, French, English, Italians and Germans all turn out for the Sitges carnival, dressed up to the nines and ready to party. Jueves Lardero or Fat Thursday,marks the beginning of carnival with a huge celebration of local dishes and the arrival of the King of the Carnestoltes and ends with the Burial of a Sardine on Ash Wednesday. There's more to do than eat, though. The busiest days are Sunday and Tuesday, when the local carnival parade makes its way down the Rua del Extermini in decorated carriages, sporting the campest razzle-dazzle type outfits you have ever seen. (The parades are themed, Rua de la Disbauxa -r the Debauchery Parade, on Sunday night and the Rua de l‘Extermini - the Extermination Parade, on Tuesday night.

sitges carnivalsitges carnival

Tuesday, the final day of carnival, also sees some amazing drag shows. Think you have seen it all... you haven't! Some of Europe's top drag performers make their way to sitges to bitch-battle it out with each other to the great amusements of the revelers.

Carnival Route And Parade Times
Thursday 11th February
7pm - Arrival of the Carnival King - La Fragata
Immediately afterwards, the king and his entourage make their way to Can Bota Park to choose the Carnival Queen. Via - Psg de la Ribera and Espanya
7.45pm - The choosing of the Carnival Queen
The king will continue to the Town Hall accpmpanied by Markatu Batucada and Timbasio.
His Majesty will address the townspeople at the Town Hall and read the "Predicot"
Sunday 14th February
9pm - “Disbauxa” Parade Défilé de la Disbauxa (Rua de la Disbauxa)
Cap de la Vila, Parellades, Bonaire, Passeig de la Ribera, Fragata,l’Avinguda Sofiaand return to carrer Espanya,Plaça Espanya, Espalter, Sant Francesc, Cap de la Vila.
Tuesday 16th February
9pm - “Extermination” Parade Défilé de l’Extermini (Rua de l’Extermini)
Wednesday 17th February
7pm - The Kings Funeral Procession
Plaça Ajuntament, Major, Cap de la Vila, Parellades, Bonaire, Passeig de la Ribera (les
Barques beach / plage de les Barques).
8.30pm - Burial of the King
- Passeig de la Ribera (les Barques beach / plage de les Barques).

sitges carnivalsitges carnival
The Sitges Gay Carnival takes place 4 days before the regular Sitges Carnival begins. Jam packed with events it includes La noche rosa, Pink night, Noche de las Mantillas - where people wear traditional Spanish normally worn at weddings & funerals, Noche de las touristas, - the tourist night (great fun) and finally the Noce de las Viudas or the Widows night (probably because you've murdered your boyfriend for being bold).

Preliminary Dates
9 th Feb La Locacola Noche de las Turistas
10th Feb Organic Miss Organic
10th Feb XXL Noche Glamour
12th Feb B-Side Fiesta las mas Bellas
12th Feb Prinz Cabaret/Roman Circus
15th Feb Oreks Noche de Premios
15th Feb Sauna Sitges Mr Sauna Sitges/Drag Show
17th Feb La Locacola Noche de la Viduas




A Guide to Carnival (‘Carnestoltes’) – Catalonia´s answer to Mardi Gras

TARRAGONA CARNIVAL, 13 February - 23 February 2010



carnavalTarragona carnival, one of the most emblematic carnivals in Catalunya

Tarragona is a city awash in light and colour. The mild climate and Mediterranean character, the charm of the streets and the warmth of the people make it an ideal spot for outdoor leisure and cultural pursuits. Tarragona is also synonymous with festivities, and here the festivities take to the streets. Thanks to the many traditional local and Catalan regional holidays, the agenda is packed with celebrations all year long.

One of the most widely attended carnivals in Catalonia, it is known for its spectacular float-filled parades and citywide dancing. Parades, bands, fireworks and elegant dress provide entertainment. Impressive effegies are built, and at the end of the Carnival you can see these burnt in a hugely atmospheric display. Of particular note are the Rua de l'Artesania and Rua de Lluïment parades, the "Judgement of Carnestoltes, King of the Carnival", and the crema de la bóta, the burning of the Carnival King figure in an enormous wineskin at the festivities' end.


Imperial Majesty and his concubine are installed at Carnival City on Wednesday evening. The entry of the king of debauchery has advanced in recent years by the many acts that entities organized in the city during the days of Carnival. A wide range of events and dances of revelry fill these days. The most impressive event is the Rua de Carnaval on Saturday, with extras, masquerades, fire groups, bands and percussion. There are carnival groups, masked groups, zoomorphic figures, music and percussion bands, not to forget the traditional groups with fireworks (the devils, the dragon, the ox, the female dragon). Carnival groups stand out for their splendid clothes full of elegance and of brilliant examples of fabric crafts at the Saturday and Sunday parades. These are days full of light, fire and colour, when participants give free rein to their imagination, materialising their ideas on really colourful and flashy fancy dresses.


But the final act is the most authentic Mardi Gras, where the vigil takes place, burial and burning of the carnival king amid a great orgy of fire. make this town one of the focal points of the carnival celebrations in Catalonia and in Spain.




A Background to Carvival in Barcelona and Catalunya.
Spain is a country with a special event, fiesta, carnival or local festival on most street corners every day throughout the year but here are some of the better one's; the more memorable fiestas and events in Spain. Most carnivals in Spain for 2010 will be between the dates 7th February and the 1st March. Carnivals usually end before the beginning of Lent and often end on Shrove Tuesday.
Throughout the world, Shrove Tuesday is a date known by Christians to fall forty days before Easter Sunday. It symbolises the start of Lent – a period of forty days in the run up to Easter in which Christians have traditionally shown abstinence from their vices, whatever they may be.

carnavalThis is the whole idea of Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, Mardi Gras or Carnestoltes – whatever you may choose to call it. It is one last blowout party before the period of suffering and will-power (or lack of it) begins. In the UK this is celebrated by clearing out the pantry of all things tasty and making pancakes. In Spain it is celebrated, of course, with a fiesta!
The fun begins on ‘Fat Thursday’ (‘Jueves Ladero’) 19th February and ends the following Wednesday with a traditional ceremony in which sardines are buried to symbolise the beginning of the fast.
Depending on the town or city, different places have their major party on different days. However, there is often a large street parade known as the Gran Rua de Carnaval on the Saturday of the celebrations.
It is worth noting that Carnival is a particularly exciting time in Catalunya as celebrations were banned under the rule of Franco. So, since the end of his dictatorship in 1980 people have been making up for all of those years without a carnival.
2010 dates:
Start of Lent 2010 (Ash Wednesday) - Wednesday 17 February 2010
End of Lent 2010 (Holy Saturday) - Saturday 3 April 2010
Carnivals in Spain centre around Shrove Tuesday, 2010 February 16th



san sebastian




San Sebastian (St Stephen) 20th january 2010





san sebastianSan Sebastian in the Basque country is the place to be in January. In 1812 Lord Wellington freed the city from the French and the locals still celebrate the event.
La Tamborrada January 19 - 20, 2010
San Sebastián
Drum roll, por favor! Take your ear plugs to San Sebastian in January, because its time once again for the infamous and deafening La Tamborrada. Prepare yourself to see and hear this sleepy resort town come alive with the sound of thousands of beating drums, all day and all night.
Spain is known for hosting some exceptionally wild fiestas, but nothing can prepare you for the high-decibel madness of La Tamborrada. It's a short but intense festival and it works like this: from midnight to midnight companies of perfectly uniformed marchers parade through the streets of San Sebastian playing drums and barrels in honor of their patron saint, the Donostia of San Sebastian.
The activity begins on the evening of January 19th at the Plaza de la Constitution and winds through all the barrios of the old city for the next 24 hours. (There is a brief break in the morning around dawn--just enough time to throw back a brandy and some churros). The different corps of marchers represent the many gastronomic societies in San Sebastian, and the competition is fierce.

san sebastiansan sebastian

As with many Spanish traditions, the origin of La Tamborrada is a bit twisted. The origin of this custom is said to be that Spanish tradesmen, including cooks, mocked the occupying French army during the Napoleonic wars, by aping their daily procession from Monte Urgull to the water-pump at San Telmo. Later, the procession was developed when Vicente "Txiki" Buenechea donated barrels to be used as drums for the procession.

san sebastiansan sebastian

Another story says that in 1720 a baker was getting water from a fountain near the Iglesia de San Vicente. during a drought. Out of nowhere he began to sing, and when he did, a group of local girls behind him started pounding on their water basins to accompany him. To his glee, the water kept on flowing. Happy, they kept on drumming. Soon a crowd gathered. Who knows and who cares? It's a great day/night to be in the city. Time passed, and the next thing anyone knew it's been two hundred years, and the music hasn't stopped.

san sebastiansan sebastiansan sebastiansan sebastian

san sebastian


Some years later the composer Raimundo Sarriegui scored the "March of San Sebastian," a series of drum compositions that are still played every year during La Tamborrada. At one point, the townspeople suggested adding words to the composition, but Sarriegui argued that there was no way to improve the sounds of the drums and barrels.


Then the marching starts as adults dressed as cooks and soldiers follow drum playing bands around throughout the night. Most marchers represent one of San Sebastian's gastronomic societies, many of which traditionally only allow male members. Nowadays, even the strictest ones allow women on the "Noche de la Tamborrada". They eat sophisticated meals cooked by themselves, mostly composed of seafood (traditionally elver, now no longer served due to its exorbitant price) and drink the best wines. For "Donostiarras" this is the most celebrated festival of the year.


sansebastiansan sebastian

After hearing drums all night, children wake up with a version of the Tamborrada for kids. Children dress traditionally as soldiers and march around the city. Children from all the schools of San Sebastián march that day.(but without the wine consumption of their parents!). They have their specific costumes which usually represent a particular country (England, Germany, Romania, etc.)

Remember to bring earplugs because millions of drumsticks fly during La Tamborrada, a deafening homage to this seaside city's patron saint, Donostia.

san sebastiansan sebastian
san sebastiansan sebastian


Further bonfires are lit in Mallorca for the feast of St Stephen on 20th January. However, this feast-day features particularly unusual and interesting displays, such as that of the Acehúche (Cáceres) carantoña (ugly mugs) men disguised in animal skins and covered by horrible masks who bow before a statue of St Stephen in the procession. In Navaconcejo (Cáceres) the taraballo (type of bogeyman), dressed in white, woolen cloth and armed with a dampened rope whip, chases after youths during the processions, and in Piornal (Cáceres) the jarramplas (vociferous character shouting absurdities) can be seen. This grotesque, masked figure, dressed in a brightly coloured costume, is pursued and violently pelted with turnips. The Robo del Santo (stealing of the Saint) in Caniles (Granada) appears to date back to the 18th century; groups of youths take part, staging a positive pitched battle. This same day sees the Bael del Bó-Bó (Bo-Bo dance) performed in Monistrol de Montserrat, whilst L'Estandart (Standard-bearer) and Els Cavallets (Small Horses) are the most traditional features of the celebrations in Pollença (Mallorca).

san sebastianIn Rajadell (Barcelona) the Baile de la Coca (Cake dance) is held on the nearest Sunday to the feast-day, and Villaviciosa de Odón (Madrid) stages a Rondón dance. During the procession for the Saint in Coria (Cáceres), sweets are thrown for the children, and in Portezuelo (Cáceres) the statues of St Fabian and St Stephen are carried inside each house. On the eve and actual Saint's Day, the city of San Sebastián (named after the Saint) stages its spectacular Tamborrada (mass drumroll) in which many associations take part. Lastly, there is the Pelegrí de Tossa (Tossa pilgrimage) between Tossa de Mar and Santa Coloma de Farners (Gerona), to comply with the traditional vow established by the townsfolk in the 14th century.

Sebastián (Stephen), chief captain of the Diocletian guard, was a fervent defender of the faith and offered spirited consolation to countless Christian martyrs in their most difficult hour. On discovering this the Emperor wished to punish what he considered as a betrayal and ordered that Sebastián be tied to a tree and shot dead by archers. Miraculously he survived this ordeal, but was killed and thus martyred on 20th January, 228 by the public beating he received.


Dia de la Constitucion- National Holiday dec 6th

constitution spainThe constitutional history of Spain dates back to the constitution of 1812. After the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, a general election in 1977 convened the Constituent Cortes (the Spanish Parliament, in its capacity as a constitutional assembly) for the purpose of drafting and approving the constitution.

A seven-member panel was selected among the elected members of the Cortes to work on a draft of the Constitution to be submitted to the body. These came to be known, as the media put it, as the padres de la Constitución or "fathers of the Constitution". These seven people were chosen to represent the wide (and often, deeply divided) political spectrum within the Spanish Parliament, while the leading role was given to then ruling party and now defunct Unión de Centro Democrático.

The writer (and Senator by Royal appointment) Camilo José Cela later polished the draft Constitution's wording. However, since much of the consensus depended on keeping the wording ambiguous, few of Cela's proposed re-wordings were approved.

congressmonument to constitution








The constitution was approved by the Cortes Generales on October 31, 1978, and by the Spanish people in a referendum on December 6, 1978, before being promulgated by King Juan Carlos on December 27. It came into effect on December 29, the day it was published in the Official Gazette. Constitution Day on December 6 has since been a national holiday in Spain.
It set out how government would be run, what powers they had and determined the governmental system that Spain operates on today. Constitution day is a celebration of the day Spain became a democracy. Other constitutional provisions recognize the right to adequate housing, employment, social welfare provision, health protection and pensions. Since 1978 the constitution has been reformed just once in order to give citizens of EU member states living in Spain the right to vote and stand as candidates in local elections. This day is principally seen as the start of the December holidays and a long weekend is normally taken in conjunction with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In recent years however, Constitution Day has become more popular for protest marches and political statements.

flag of spainThe flag of Spain, as it is defined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, is divided into three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice the size of each red stripe. The state and war flags and ensigns must be charged with the Spanish coat of arms, while the civil flag and ensign leaves the inclusion of the coat of arms as optional. The coat of arms must be placed at 1/3 the flag's length towards the hoist, and the height of the coat of arms should measure two fifths of the flag's width (i.e. hoist).
Throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, this colour scheme remained intact, being the only changes centred on the coat of arms. In the modern flag, the coat of arms is greatly simplified as compared to previous variants.
The coat of arms consists of a crowned shield. Each of the four quadrants represent one of the four kingdoms that were merged to form a unified Spain at the end of the 15th century. Namely, the kingdoms are: Castile, represented by the castle, León, represented by the lion, Aragon, represented by the vertical alternating red and yellow stripes (four red stripes, five yellow stripes), and Navarre, represented by the linked chains. Also the moorish kingdom of Granada is represented by the pomegranate fruit in the bottom of the coat of arms. The impaled fleur de lys represents the ruling House of Borbón. The two columns with the "plus ultra" ensign (meaning "there is more beyond" in Latin) represent Spanish discovery and colonization of America, the columns being the mythological Pillars of Hercules (of the Strait of Gibraltar, gateway to the Atlantic Ocean). The "Plus Ultra" phrase replaced the former "Non Plus Ultra" (something like "No further from here") before the discovery of America, since Spain was considered "the Westernmost point" on Earth (thus, "no further from here")


“immaculate festival & commemoration of the siege of 1640 in cambrils"

immaculadaDecember 8-Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Inmaculada Concepcion –National Holiday) This holiday in Spain is typically a day of additional church services in and around Madrid as well as in the rest of the country. This Spanish holiday is based on the Catholic dogma that states that while becoming pregnant the Virgin Mary did not suffer the “original sin” as she was “filled by god” and as such the conception was “immaculate”. Note that between the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Constitution Day the Spanish get two days off during this week, so many take the whole week off in the biggest puente of the year.

Immaculate Conception

Our Lady was conceived without original sin. She had a perfect purity, with no bad inclinations. Therefore, she had a great facility to correspond entirely with the grace of God at every moment. Natural and the supernatural grandeur merged together in her soul in a profound and extraordinary harmony. Above all others creatures, she had the highest notion of the sanctity of God and His correspondent glory. She also had the clear notion of what Creation owes to that glory. She knew that all created beings should glorify God.


* The Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December, exactly nine months before celebrating the Nativity of Mary. The feast of the Incarnation of Christ, also known as The Annunciation, is celebrated on 25 March, nine months before Christmas Day. Mary was not the product of a Virgin Birth herself; Christian tradition identifies her parents as Saints Joachim and Anne. In fact, both Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have condemned the belief that Mary was the product of a virgin birth.

immaculate festival cambrilsINMACULADA FESTIVAL
In December, the Castellers week takes place. On the 8th, the Inmaculada Festival is held, with a public mass in Santa Maria Church and an interesting procession with dwarves and giants, along with many other shows. The program has many different activities for residents and visitors through the streets allowing you to enjoy the customs and traditions. Theater, children's shows, concerts, sporting events, delivery of the Research Grant Awards and painting, photography id'escultura displays.

siege cambrilsThere is also the commemoration of the events of the Cambrils Siege in 1640,. The livelihood of the township was put in serious jeopardy in December of 1640, when the people of Cambrils experienced one of the worse episodes of the Catalan Revolt (Guerra dels Segadors /war of the Reapers) in which Catalonia clashed with King Felipe IV. Faced with a superior army, the townspeople of Cambrils resisted a terrible three-day siege before surrendering. Contrary to agreement, the occupying forces killed a large number of the defenders who had already surrendered and a good part of the town wall was destroyed. Unfortunately, this is one of the most significant historical events that has ever occurred in the town, which is why it is commemorated year after year in the Plaça del Setge, in front of the remains of the walls.

tioBeginning with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), one gives the tió a little bit to "eat" every night and usually covers him with a little blanket so that he will not be cold at night. The Tió de Nadal (roughly "Christmas Log"), also known as "Tió" (trunk or log, a big piece of cut wood) or "Tronca" ("log") and popularly called "Caga tió" (pooping log in English), is a character in Catalan mythology relating to a Christmas tradition widespread in Catalonia.




07/11/2009 to 08/11/2009

gandesaFestival of the Wine and of the Clotxa,  the first weekend of November. You are invited to taste all the wines from DO Terra Alta and you can eat the clotxa (a typical food from this area).


Held the 1st weekend of November. The Wine Festival began as a celebration amongst a group of friends to celebrate the end of the harvest. It has now become the showcase of wines from the Appellation d 'Source Terra Alta.



Around the Cooperative Waldo you can find stalls from different cooperatives and private cellars of the region where you can taste the different wines for free. On Saturday the cooperative offers a complimentary appetizer to all who visit the stalls.


During the festival there are many events organized related to the wine world, such as various conferences on the growing of grapes and the production of wine as well as agricultural courses on wine tasting. You can listen to the concert from a symphony orchestra, as well as other manifestations of a more traditional acts like the Giants etc. The festival ends on Saturday with the popular dance, where all from the young to old celebrate to the early hours of the morning. Next comes the most awaited event, the popular meal with the traditional “clotxa” lunch for harvesters, where one side of bread is hollowed and filled with escalivats (sardine) or sausage with garlic and tomato.

ametllatsWine and gastronomy of Gandesa.
You can not leave Gandesa without tasting their famous wines neither their delicious pastries.
Gandesa is famous for the excellent quality of its wines from DO Terra Alta. The white wines are strong and they stand out for their intense aroma of fruits. The red wines have less alcohol content and they have an intense colour. They are both equally appreciated. There are also other kinds of important wine, one being noted for its sweetness and is called “mistela” and the other is a rancid wine and it is called “vi ranci”.
The local bakeries are full of the typical regional cookies: “ametllats, casquetes, carquinyolis, coc de sagi”, etc. They are all made with natural products including almonds and honey.



olivesLA FESTA DE L'OLI NOU, REUS Nov 2009


• Olive trees have been in Catalonia for thousands of years, and their fruit has been, and is still, the fundamental essence of our traditional cuisine. What would pa amb tomàquet (bread smeared with tomato) or a salad be without a dash of olive oil? Not to mention escalivada (baked vegetables in olive oil), graellades (charcoal-grilled meat or seafood), romesco (a Catalan pepper sauce) and allioli (a mayonnaise-like sauce made of garlic and olive oil). This golden liquid enriches our dishes every day, but it also enriches the landscapes, the villages and towns and the festivals of the areas where it is made.

• Nowadays in Catalonia there are four protected DOs for olive oil: Les Garrigues (the counties of Les Garrigues, El Segrià and L’Urgell), which uses Arbequina (90%) and Verdiell varieties of olives; Siurana (Baix Camp, El Baix Penedès, El Priorat, L’Alt Camp, La Ribera d’Ebre, La Conca de Barberà and El Tarragonès), where the Arbequina (90%), Rojal and Morruda varieties are used; Terra Alta, where oil is made mainly from the Empeltre variety but with small additions from other varieties such as Arbequina, Morruda, and Farga; and the Baix Ebre-Montsià area, where the Farga, Morruda and Sevillenca varieties are mostly used. Olive oil production is also important in L’Alt and El Baix Empordà.



• It has been shown that extra virgin olive oil decreases levels of harmful cholesterol and thus reduces the danger of arterial sclerosis. The experts say that oil improves the functioning of the pancreas and stomach, protects the epidermis and stimulates bone growth. In addition, because of its high vitamin E content and the anti-toxin effect that this vitamin has, olive oil is especially recommended for infants and the elderly.

reus olive oil• There are many festivals associated with olive oil that are held in Catalonia during the months of November, December and January, during the time of harvesting, pressing and finally bottling the first oils of the year, known as l’oli novell or new oil. Some of the most popular events are the l’Oli Nou Festival in Reus, the Castelldans Olive Oil Fair, the l’Oli Novell Fair in Santa Bàrbara, the Belianes Olive Oil Festival, the Garrigues Olive Oil Fair in Les Borges Blanques, the Olive Oil Fair in Espolla and the Terres de l’Ebre Olive Oil Fair.

On 20th and 21th of November there is an olive oil fair in Reus: 13a MOSTRA DE L'OLI SIURANA. LA FESTA DE L'OLI NOU
Plaça de la Llibertat. Reus.
Friday 20th from 17.00 to 21.00
Saturday 21th from 10.00 to 14.00 and 17.00 to 21.00
Free entrance
The most important cooperatives of the Siurana DOP participate every year in this fair, where they present the new olive oil of the year. On Saturday morning, from 10.00 to 12.30 hrs aprox. there is a popular "breakfast" where all the people can try the new olive oil.
If you need more inforamtion about this event, please don't hesitate to contact: Dominique Ruiz Pierrard, Reus Turisme Promoció i Comunicació
Tel. 977 010 667 or


Virgen del pilar“spanish national day & virgen del pilar 12th oct"

national day

12th October is a national holiday in Spain. It is also Saint Day for anyone called Pilar (many Spaniards, especially the older generations, celebrate their saint day more than their birthday). Pilar is the Patron Saint of Zaragoza.

Spain's National Day (Día de la Hispanidad) is celebrated on 12 October. With the advent of democracy in Spain, 12 October, a date that commemorates the discovery of America by Cristobal Colon in 1492, became the National Day of Spain.

Every year, on the 12th of October, the capital of the region of Aragon in Spain, Zaragoza, becomes a place of celebration and homage for the Virgin of Pilar, the patron saint of this historic and diverse region, located in the Pyrenees mountains, and surrounded to the north by Navarra, to the east by Catalunya, and to the south and west by Castilla León.

Centuries of history, faith and devotion surround the Virgin of Pilar, and serve as the foundation for the festivities practiced in modern times. Today, an abundance of music, dance, theater, parades, flowers and ambiance make the Fiesta del Pilar a fine example of the spirit of Spanish history and culture, as well as an internationally recognized event.

national daynational daynational daynational day


fiesta del pilar


The history of the Fiesta del Pilar begins in the year 40 A.D., when the apostle Saint James the Greater enters Spain with the task of converting the still largely pagan country to Christianity. In Aragonese territory, while traveling on the eve of January 2, the Virgin appears to him, and asks him to build a church on the very spot where he stood at that moment. Saint James delivered the wishes of the Virgin, and the result still stands today, and is known as the Basilica del Pilar.
12 October 1492 marks the emergence of a large Spanish speaking community of more than 350 million people who share language, values, and traditions.


The origins of 12th October celebrations go back to the beginning of last century. In 1913 Faustino Rodriguez San Pedro (a wealthy and influential Spanish business man and lawyer and at that time Chairman of an organization called the Iberoamerican Union) proposed that 12th October (which was already a festival in many South American countries and in Zaragoza in honour of the Virgin Pilar) be called Fiesta de la Raza - literally Festival of the Race, i.e. the Spanish race - and be celebrated throughout Spain and Latin America. La Fiesta de la Raza duly became an official national holiday in 1918 in Spain and some American countries, where the 12th October was already a national holiday, started calling their national day Fiesta de la Raza too.feste



In 1926 a Spanish priest, Zacarias de Vizcarra, displaying a little more sensitivity and respect for the diversity and wealth of Central and South American culture and race, wrote an article in which he said that the word "Hispanidad" ought to substitute the word "Race" in the official description of the 12th October festivals. The idea started to catch on, and in 1935 the national holiday in Spain was officially renamed Fiesta de la Hispanidad.



chestnutsFesta del Remei and Fira de Bandolers ALCOVER



On the second weekend of October Alcover celebrates the festivals Festa del Remei and Fira de Bandolers.

Festa del Remei is celebrated at the hermitage ermita del Remei where there is the Mare de Déu, the virgin venerated in Alcover and all around the town. People attend the mass and offer flowers to the virgin.

alcoverFira de Bandolers is an historical reconstruction of Alcover’s past when the village was protected by bandits ("Robin Hood") who defended poor people from rich in a society where persecutions, murders, and popular trials were usual. The activity consisted of two conflicting sides: the Vultures and Morell and this rise of banditry also coincided with a time of economic revival of the town. During two weeks the town changes its appearance so people can see live demonstrations and taste the typical food from the period. There is a fun fair, a treasure hunt for children, a crazy car race, and several music concerts among other cultural activities.



marxa btt vall del glorietaMarxa BTT Vall del Glorieta
On the 12th there is a mountain race, one of the most hard and scenic from Tarragona. It is organized by Club Ciclista Alcover. The race passes through Alcover’s forest, along narrow paths with amazing views. Its highest number of participants was 120 in 2006. Weather conditions affect this race, especially the rain because it is celebrated in a period when it normally rains heavily. Despite, the weather, people still come to race.

Castanyada is the Catalan festivity that is celebrated on the same day as Halloween. It is celebrated before All Saints Day. In Alcover volunteer parents from the local nursery school Llar d’Infants Xiu-Xiu sell chestnuts at plaça Nova, and the students from the High School IES Fonts del Glorieta sell chestnuts at plaça el Portal to raise money to pay for their end of year school trip.
More information:



“Virgen de la Ermitana, Peñíscola"





September 8-9, Peñíscola starting on the evening of the 7th
















The town of Peñíscola, situated in the north of the Community of Valencia, is set in a privileged part of the Spanish Mediterranean. The municipality of Peñíscola covers 79Km2, 17 of which run parallel to the coastline, an area which is fairly distributed between woodland areas and warm Mediterranean groves of oranges, olives and almonds. The old city, which is crowned by a XIV century castle-stronghold and was the residence of Pope Benedicto XIII, stands on top of an impressive rocky crag which rises 64 metres above the blue sea. A sandy isthmus joins it to the mainland, which in the past was swept by waves in the midst of storms, turning the city into an ephemeral island. Providing a contrast with the old quarters are the modern streets and wide avenues of the tourist area. Warm waters in summer and autumn are shared between the extensive beaches of fine sand which lie to the north of the fortress, and the beautiful coves flanked by steep cliffs which can be found to the south.

Virgen de la Ermitana Description

Near the castle is the church of the Virgen de la Ermitana, where the Moros y Cristianos dance is performed annually in September - a commemoration of the fighting between Moors and Christians. The church contains an image of the Virgin said to have belonged to the Apostle St. James.

Declared as having National Tourist Interest, the big festival dedicated to the Mare de Déu de l'Ermitana starts on 7th September and its duration varies. The local patron saint is celebrated in time honoured Spanish fiesta fashion.. Bulls, concerts, traditional songs and dances. Plus the Queen and her ladies are crowned.

The characteristic events are the traditional farmers’ dances (danses de llauradores), dancers (dansants), gypsies (gitanetes), pilgrims and little horses (peregrines i cavallets) and the dance-battle of the Moors and Christians (dansa-batalla de moros i cristians), that take place on 8th and 9th September at the Plaça d'Armes, the heifers on the beach and during the early morning, the Moors and Christians parades and the fireworks.
web site








1974festes quinquennals ulldecona 4-13th september 2009

History. The Quinquennial Fiesta is the most important Ulldecona Fiesta. It has taken place every five years since 1939 and the origin is related to the destruction of the ancient image of the Virgin of Pity during the Spanish Civil War, then to the construction of a new image by the local artist Vicent Barrera in 1939 and, finally, to a promise related to the worship of the Virgin and the hermitage. The Quinquennial Fiesta is “the explosion of a city, a mix of religion, magic, harmony, desire of divinity, popularity, collective effort… since the people from Ulldecona (who are known as falduts) and they transform the town every five years in order to continue this worship”.


VIRGIN OF PITYThe main components of the Quinquennial:

The hermitage and the Virgin of Pity
The Quinquennial Local Fiesta begins when the falduts go by foot on a pilgrimage to the hermitage (which is located 3 Km from Ulldecona), and collect the image of the Virgin. One of the most touching moments of the fiesta is the arrival of the Virgin in Ulldecona. It is taken every day by the citizens to one of the different areas in which Ulldecona is divided during the Fiesta.

Ulldecona and its streets
One of the fundamental aspects of the Quinquennial Local FLOWERSFiesta is to experience the transformation of the streets of Ulldecona. The Fiesta becomes a phenomenon which cannot only be regarded as a religious one, but also as an artistic and social one. And this component has a growing importance, bearing in mind the pluralism that characterises the town, where a significant percentage of the population is not religious or catholic.
The majority of the residents clean the façades of their houses and the streets plus the cars disappear from sight. Moreover, the neighbours adorn the streets with flowers. In the beginning, the flowers which were used were natural ones. However, nowadays people tend to use artificial flowers, made during the previous months secretly in order to avoid imitations. Among the materials used to make these works of art are different kinds of cloth, paper and cardboard, buttons, plastic… especially using recycled products. As a consequence, the flowers become an example of sustainable development and respect of the environmental. The result is extraordinary, you can walk for hours without knowing what you are going to find a bit later…






A social phenomenon
The Quinquennial Local Fiesta is also a social event as the whole town takes part. The falduts who do not live in Ulldecona try to be there during the Fiesta and the number of cultural, leisure and social activities is considerable. Among these activities are:

Local Festival Opening Speech- This is one of the most important official activities of the Local Fiesta, where the Queen of the Fiesta and her Ladies-in-waiting are present, with the public authorities to hear the Speech.



The jota from Ulldecona -This typical dance from Ulldecona takes place every year during the night of the first Monday of the Fiesta. However, it is extra spectacular during the Quinquennial Local Fiesta.

BALLBullfighting- is also one of the fundamental local traditions. However, bullfighting in Ulldecona is unlike anything to do with traditional bullfighting in other Spanish regions. The falduts every year build the bullring where bullfighting will take place but they are never killed and everybody is allowed to be in the bullring and to face the bulls. Moreover, there is also "running of the bulls" similar to those that take place in Pamplona in July every year.

Concerts and Dances- and other musical activities take place in Ulldecona almost every day during the Local Fiesta.
Parade of floats- One of the last activities of the Local Fiesta is the traditional parade of floats. Almost all the local associations make their own float, as well as the Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting. The parade finishes with a battle with confetti and sweets.







Benicarló festes patronals 16-24 AUGUST 2009

From: 16-08-2009
Until: 24-08-2009
The 24th is a local holiday.





The town gets decked out in its finest in August to celebrate the feast days of its patron saints; St. Bartholomew and the saints Senén and Abdón and Santa María del Mar. The variety of events covers everything from concerts, dances, children's shows, entertainment with bulls and young bulls, and correfocs, and even sports events such as trap-shooting, pigeon racing, to petanca. Music and the noise of fireworks feature widely.
The origin of the celebrations date back to 1523, when Emperor Charles I awarded Benicarló «...the privilege of a fair for Saint Bartholomew», in addition to awarding it the title of Town.


The celebrations held in honour of its patron saints fill Benicarló with light and colour, and a large proportion of the population takes part. The constant activity and variety of acts make the celebrations attractive for people of all ages.

FIREWORKSFIREWORKSThe celebrations begin with the «Cridá», which includes concerts, exhibitions, painting events, firework displays, «mascletaes», and the typical «Bous a la Mar» (bulls on the sea shore), where the sea acts as a refreshing refuge from the bull, although sometimes it is not enough as the bull also ends up plunging into the water.
The nightlife takes on another dimension as the usual range of entertainment is extended to include the noisy «casals» (premises) of the «penyas», or groups of friends who meet to celebrate the festival more intensely.
The party... has just begun.






sant magifesta de sant magi tarragona 15-19 august 2009

sant magisant magisant magisant magisant magisant magi

Sant Magí (15-19 August)
sant magiThe feast day of the city's minor patron saint is marked by four or five days filled with a lively waterfront parade known as the Seguici Popular (literally, “Popular Retinue”), human castles and music for all tastes and ages.
Sant Magi* himself was probably a III or IV Century hermit who lived in the Sierra de Brufaganya, his hermitage is hidden among cliffs overlooking a delightful secret valley near the headwaters of the Riu Gaià. After the dramatic ravines encountered downstream the landscape beyond the Sierra de Brufaganya opens out to reveal the rolling hill country that separates the Segre basin from the plains of Tarragona. Life must have been hard indeed for the likes of Sant Magi. Nothing is known in detail about his exploits but it appears that from the early XII Century a cult grew up around his tomb, resulting in the establishment of a monastery or ‘Sanctuary’ alongside. Magi appeared in papal lists of saints in the XVI Century with over 300 miracles accredited to him. By the early XVIII Century the number of pilgrims was such that extra wells had to be dug to cope with the demand for healing waters and it was during alterations to the crypt in 1735 that his remains were found to be uncorrupted and have the ‘odour of sanctity’.
The link with Tarragona dates from 1588, when the city’s bishop made a pilgrimage to mark the departure of the Spanish Armada. Catalan King Jaume I, the Conqueror, launched his invasion fleet, said to consist of over 500 vessels, from this coast in 1229 and,...

sant magiaigua

"We set sail on Wednesday morning with the land wind behind us . . . and when the men of Tarragona and Cambrils saw the fleet getting under way from Salou, they too made sail, and it was a fine thing for both those on land and for us to watch, for all the sea seemed white with sails, so great was our fleet."
Pilgrimages to the Sanctuary are also recorded from other towns and villages, and that of nearby Santa Coloma de Queralt is known to have been continuous from those days. A feature is that water from the spring at Brufaganya is carried back. This water is noted for curative powers, most notably for venereal diseases, so it’s always handy to keep a bottle or two available.

sant magisant magi

Nowadays the route of the aigüa miraculosa, or miracle water, is followed by a caravan of horses and carts, which carry the water over 2 days. As one of Tarragona’s two Festes Majors, the celebrations start well before this, but when the cavalcade finally arrives in the early evening of August the 18th the party really begins. One notable feature is that the drovers and crew of the carts bring huge amounts of basil, so as to disperse the fleas, flies and other beasties that they might have picked up in the countryside, and to scent the city with its sweet smell. The water is received in the Plaza de la Fuente, with sincerity and celebration. Then the procession of the Holy Magí tours the mediaeval city centre. When the water has reached the streets of Las Tortas and the Arch of St. Lawrence, it is greeted by groups of human towers, giants and bands. and the celebrations really begin.
"This water, reminds us of traditional values and miraculous healing."

sierra de BrufaganyaBrufaganya




Cities can be born a thousand and one times; reconstructed from their ashes or reinvented through imagination. The reborn Benicàssim that we know today owes as much to its sun, surf and sand as it does to Oasis and Leonard Cohen; as much to its peculiar mountain range, polka-dotted with caves, crags and cliffs, as to the magic of Björk and the howling of Jon Spencer; as much to the Las Palmas desert as to the Festival’s concert venue.

Cities can be born a thousand and one times; reconstructed from their ashes or reinvented through imagination. The reborn Benicàssim that we know today owes as much to its sun, surf and sand as it does to Oasis and Leonard Cohen; as much to its peculiar mountain range, polka-dotted with caves, crags and cliffs, as to the magic of Björk and the howling of Jon Spencer; as much to the Las Palmas desert as to the Festival’s concert venue. Today’s Benicàssim is synonymous with FIB Heineken.

Benicàssim – a name of Arab origins, "sons of Qasim" – has had an action-packed history due to its location on the Mediterranean: once a refuge for pirates and smugglers, and now, ever since 1995, a second home and truly magical city by the sea for a week of each summer thanks to FIB Heineken. Situated in the very heart of the Costa del Azahar, Benicàssim boasts everything a modern vacation spot needs to make its visitors feel comfortable so they can thoroughly enjoy the scenery, the weather, the cuisine, the beach, the sports facilities and, of course, the music. A city reborn on the Mediterranean coast, proud of its present, which has redefined its geographic coordinates. Since it began in 1995 Benicassim has secured itself a place as one of Europe's premier festivals.
The festival frequently provides a line-up that is among the best in Europe with a selection of stellar artists and superstar DJs. Across the event's five stages the likes of Sigur Ros, Gnarls Barkley, Leonard Cohen and Justice all performed last year, so, as per usual, expect a similar calibre of artists this time around.



Since it began in 1995 Benicassim has secured itself a place as one of Europe's premier festivals. Each year revellers from around the world descend on the Costa del Azahar to experience four days of music, art, theatre, dance, fashion and short films.

Organisers allow festival-goers to stay in the free campsite for up to nine days (three days before and two days after the festival) and enjoy the local beach and usually scorching sunshine. As Spanish times apply, an apartment is recommended as the music doesn't start until evening and continues through the night, which means the sun rises as you fall!

15 Years of History

In 1994, post-Madrilenian Groove Madrid was in hectic full swing and shedding itself, specifically, of some of the less convenient burdens of those happy years. Bustling, noisy, cosmopolitan and, above all, fun, the capital was starting to build on one of the basic pillars of the new youth movement (the members of which seemed innocent and harmless enough, but they could sure roar up a storm): Music, pure and simple, and no pretensions.
Between concerts, Luis Calvo and Joako Ezpeleta, both editors at the magazine Spiral (Calvo was also head of Elefant Records), joined up with Miguel and José Morán, who were running Maravillas, to really bring about what had until then only seemed like a pipe dream: “We would dream of creating the perfect space for an international gathering of young music lovers; a place full of unique, enriching and unforgettable experiences where people could share their interests and passion for music and life while providing an emotionally-charged base of support for cutting-edge bands to put on really amazing and one-of-a-kind shows.” And, the opportunity arrived when they found the ideal spot on the Mediterranean for truly great summer holidays – a friendly place, lots of sun, surf and sand, and beautiful weather. Françesc Colomer, who was then the mayor of the small city of Benicàssim, listened to their proposal and recognised the incredible possibilities of such a venture. He took a gamble and ultimately won. The first edition of the International Benicàssim Festival was underway.


In 1998, the Festival expanded significantly and considerably when it moved to a new venue, offering far better conditions for both the fans and the artists – Björk, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Primal Scream, Spiritualized and sixty other bands performing on three stages over three days, kicking off a new stage in the Festival’s life with style. It was also in 1998 that the Festival’s Extramusical Activities were launched, such as the FIB Fashion Show and the FIB-Act theatre festival, both of which are non-profit ventures. These activities would gain in intensity over the next years to eventually include FIB’s Date with Dance, FIB Summer Courses, the FIB International Short Film Festival and FIB-Art – all of which have woven themselves into the fabric of Benicàssim society as essential elements of a cultural proposition open to one and all.


In 2001, Heineken came on board as the Festival’s main sponsor; as such, it came to be known as FIB Heineken.
The following year proved momentous in the history of the Festival: 38,000 people attended each day, surpassing the wildest of expectations. Radiohead, The Cure, DJ Shadow, Paul Weller and Belle & Sebastian, to name just a few, put on shows that established FIB Heineken as an international benchmark of music-festival excellence.
FIB Heineken 2008 continued to set the standard of distinction and quality thanks to artists like My Bloody Valentine, Morrissey, The Raconteurs, Siouxsie, and Morente Omega with Lagartija Nick – not to mention the tremendous and showstopping concert Leonard Cohen put on, which is no doubt indelibly etched in the memory of everyone who was there.

So, that pipe dream of days gone buy has become a reality; that perfect place where once-in-a-lifetime experiences inspired by music are the norm has grown and developed and finally become a near-Utopian parallel reality governed by the values and passions of thousands and thousands of young music lovers from all over the world. Pure hedonistic pleasure and both personal and cultural enrichment join hands in the celebration of life that is FIB Heineken.

The Venue

Located at the 986 km mark of N-340, the venue that hosts the International Benicàssim Festival will become, from Thursday to Sunday, the hub for the thousands of fibers who attend the Festival every summer from different corners of the world. The venue covers an area of 120,000 square meters, home to diverse musical and cultural spaces, and boasts all the services necessary to make the Festival’s attendees feel comfortable, at ease and safe.
Hours: Thursday, from 5:30 pm. to 6:00 am.
Friday to Sunday, from 5:30 pm. to 8:00 am.





“fira de sant jaume de reus 24-26th july 2009”


17-18 July 2010 Reus' most traditional fair since 1343.





Dates: 24th, 25th and 26th of July
Location: Parc de la Festa (in front of parc dels Capellans, in Avinguda de Riudoms. REUS)
Timetable: form 7 pm to 12 pm
Free entrance.

Reus' most traditional fair. The most important part in the programme is the "Horse Fair" (with different championships, exhibitions...), and the degustation of local food every night.
In order to maintain one of the oldest traditions of the holiday calendar of the city and the exhibition schedule of Catalonia, the Municipal Board of Tourism and Commerce Reus organizes the traditional Fair of Santiago, which this year celebrates its' birthday as it was in 1343 when King Pedro III of Aragon Reus granted the town of Reus the award for organizing the fair. This was an annual event in which farmers and ranchers would provide tools and animals they needed for their work in the fields. In recent decades the show has taken on a more playful nature, with equestrian events such as exhibitions, shows and races carrying sacks of hazelnuts, plus events that continue to maintain links with the rural world. By organizing this event The Board wishes to position the Fair of Saint James as a recreational event, like the "Feria de Reus night" where citizens and visitors can enjoy an extensive program of activities for all ages, and performances.
The traditional trade of the area displaying the products and economic activity of the city and its surrounding area has been promoted in various Reus fairs and markets , from this Sant Jaume Festival to the modern expo / Reus-from 9 to 17 October-through to the new Oil Show -Siurana on 12 and 13 November, the Antique Market and Brocanters each Sunday, the Christmas market, etc...



Festival Verge del Carme/virgen del carmen 16th july 2009 in L'AMPOLLA & many other coastal towns

14-18 July L'Ampolla Festival Verge del Carme 2010
16 July 21:30 h Harbour Procession by sea and fireworks .Sea-land procession in honour of the Patron Saint of seafarers and fishermen. "The star of the seas". The evening of the 16th July is a very special time for the residents of many towns in Spain for this is the night when the patron saint Virgen del Carmen is celebrated. This is one of the most deeply rooted traditions of the fishing villages and the celebrations begin with the image of the Virgin being carried through the town.

L'Ampolla 15-18 July Festival Verge del Carme 2009 plus on the 16th July at 21:30h at the Harbour is the procession by the sea followed by a spectacular firework display.


VIREGEN CARMENSea-land procession in honour of the Patron Saint of seafarers and fishermen. "The star of the seas"

The evening of the 16th July is a very special time for the residents of many towns in Spain for this is the night when the patron saint Virgen del Carmen is celebrated. This is one of the most deeply rooted traditions of the fishing villages and the celebrations begin with the image of the Virgin being carried through the town, towards the sea. Accompanied by a band and often by the fishermen’s wives in traditional costumes. Floral tributes are usually made to the effigy. The procession takes Her down to the local port where She is put aboard one of the fishing boats and taken out to sea, this time accompanied by the fishing fleet and almost anything else that can sail out of the harbour. All along the coast, the tiny fishing boats, all illuminated, await her arrival. Boats sounding their horns and decorated with flowers and lanterns receive the blessing of the Virgin. Prayers are said for those lost at sea and for the protection of those that continue to make a living from the ocean. However, there is a darker side, as alcohol and water don’t mix too well and it is not unusual to hear of someone falling overboard and drowning during the festivities.

The religious masses begin on the 13th July and continue each evening until the 16th with offerings of flowers and presentations of commemorative medals. After the blessing at sea, the Virgin is carried through the streets once more to her resting place in the chapel where the 'Queen of the Seas' watches over the fishing community. The fiesta often comes to an end with a spectacular and a fine display of fireworks paying a joyous and noisy tribute to her, while shrouding her and everything else on the water in thick smoke.

PROCESSIONThe history of the Virgen del Carmen can be traced back to the old testament which tells of the prophet Elias retreating to Mount Carmelo (from which comes Carmen) in modern day Israel, where he had a vision of a cloud rising from the sea.

This was later interpreted to be a manifestation of the Virgin Mary, and from it comes one connection with sea farers. Another can be found in the fact that the Virgen del Carmen is known as the ‘Estrella del Mar’ (star of the sea) harking back to the days before GPS, when mariners navigated by the stars.

But the town’s economy traditionally encompassed the sea as well, and this month it’s time to remember how dangerous and for how little reward these waters have been worked down the years. Few people are more superstitious than the people who work on the sea, so it’s unsurprising that they have a much revered patron, La Virgen del Carmen, to watch over them and to whom they direct their prayers, and she is honoured on the 16th July in coastal towns and villages all over Spain, as well as in the Spanish navy.



The Virgin has given her name, of course, to women all over Spain. To understand where her name came from, however, we must travel to north-west Palestine, not far from the port of Haifa. There stands a low mountain range containing Mount Carmel, which has been considered a holy place for millennia. The name of the mountain means something like ‘fertile garden’, which explains why the word ‘carmen’ is also used in Granada to describe villas with fine gardens or orchards. It was on Mount Carmen that the Old Testament prophet Elijah had a famous confrontation with the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal. Elijah was determined to defend the purity of his people’s faith from corruption by the worshippers of Baal, and succeeded by means of an impressive miracle involving fire from on high and a rain storm which ended a three-year drought. This would later be interpreted by the Catholic Church as a sign or message from the Virgin Mary that through her Son there would be a ‘rain of grace’ on sinners.

OUT TO SEAThe Mount became a place where pious former pilgrims or crusaders would go to live as hermits in search of spiritual perfection and sanctity, following the example of Elijah. They lived a tough and lonely life of silence and they called themselves the Brothers of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel. Thus was born the Roman Catholic Carmelite order in the 12th century. With the failure of the crusades in the 13th century, the monks left Palestine for Europe, some settling in England, where St Simon Stock would become their leader. It was a difficult time for the order, and Simon prayed for help to the Virgin Mary. She responded by appearing to him in a vision – on the 16th July, 1251. She also brought him a gift, a garment consisting of two pieces of brown cloth which were tied together at the shoulder. It was called a scapula, and the vision informed Simon that the wearer of the scapula could be assured of her protection and salvation from the fires of Hell. The scapula henceforth became a symbol of the Carmelite Order and also of those lay people who wanted to manifest their association with the order by wearing one under their clothes.

VIRGEN CARMENThree hundred years later in Spain two famous saints would become involved in reforming the order. The formidable Saint Teresa of Ávila was convinced the order was going soft and founded the much stricter branch called the ‘discalced’ or barefoot order of the Carmelites (although in fact they wore sandals). At her monastery in Ávila she imposed strict rules of poverty and constant abstinence on her nuns. She also persuaded St John of the Cross, the great Spanish mystic and poet, to set up similar institutions for men, which got him into considerable trouble with the authorites.

But why did the Virgen del Carmen become the patron saint of seafarers? (It is a role she shares, incidentally, with St Elmo of St Elmo’s Fire fame.) The answer seems to lie in her symbolism: for a long time, the people who travelled the seas and oceans of the world depended on the stars in the night sky to guide them. In a similar way, so the reasoning goes, Mary guides her followers through the difficult waters of life, like a star of the sea. FIREWORKSHence the words to her hymn, known to Spanish sailors everywhere, the ‘Salve Marinera’, which translated reads as follows:
Hail, Star of the seas,
Rainbow of the seas,
and of eternal good fortune.
Hail, oh Phoenix of beauty
Mother of divine love!
May your clemency
Give comfort
To the sorrows of your people.
May our fervent cry reach unto heaven
And to Thee, and to Thee.
Hail, Star of the seas!







fathers day june 21 2009

fathers dayFather's Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of Dad. It is a day to not only honor your father, but all men who have acted as a father figure in your life - whether as Stepfathers, Uncles, Grandfathers, or "Big Brothers." Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, and special dinners to fathers and family-oriented activities. In 2009, it is celebrated on June 21 in many countries (March 19 in Spain). In a few Catholic countries, it is celebrated on the Feast of St. Joseph

The History of Father's Day
The earliest record of Father's Day was found in the ruins of Babylon. A young boy named Elmesu carved a Father's Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. He wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life!
Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a "father's day" in 1909. She wanted a special day to honour her father, William Smart. He was a Civil War veteran widowed when his wife died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. Therefore, the first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington.
fathersfather son

It took many years to make the holiday official. Where Mother's Day was met with enthusiasm, Father's Day was met with laughter. The holiday was gathering attention slowly, but for the wrong reasons: it was the target of much satire, parody and derision, including jokes from the local newspaper Spokane Review. Many people saw it as just the first step in filling the calendar with mindless promotions like "Grandparents' Day", "Professional Secretaries' Day", etc. all the way down to "National Clean Your Desk Day".
trophyIn 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

How Fathers's Day is celebrated
Roses are the symbolic flowers for fathers on their special day, much like carnations are to mothers on Mother's Day. If you wear a red rose, it's in celebration of your father who is alive and a white rose indicates that your father has passed away.
South Africans typically celebrate by taking the family on a picnic or spending the day fishing.
i love dadask your father

In Sweden, Father's Day starts by serving him his favourite breakfast in bed. The breakfast may consist of cheese, ham, assorted breads, gröt (porridge), Smörgas (Swedish open faced sandwiches), filmjölk (sour-milk yogurt) and Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and whipped cream. Served with juices and tea or coffee.
fathers dayIn Japan, some elementary and middle schools mark Father's Day by holding special classes on a Sunday in June. For dads who spend all their weekdays working, this is a rare chance to see firsthand how their kids are doing in class.
In Germany there is no such thing as Father's Day as celebrated throughout the western world but there are two celebrations with similar names: Vatertag, is always celebrated on Ascension Day and regionally, it is also called men's day, Männertag, or gentlemen's day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more small wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost, which could be Saumagen, Liverwurst, Blutwurst (Blood Sausage), vegetables, eggs, etc.



fathers dayIn honor of Father's Day, learn how to say "I love you, Dad" in foreign languages:
. Ich liebe dich, Vater (German)
. Jag älskar dig Pappa (Swedish)
. Ik hou van je, Vader (Dutch)
. Je t'aime, Papa (French)
. Szeretlek, Apa (Hungarian)
. Ti ami, Padre (Italian)
. Kocham ciebie Tata (Polish)
. Eu te amo Pai (Portugese)
. Te amo Papá (Spanish)
. Nakupenda Baba (Swahili)





st joanThe night of June 23rd, or Sant Joan as it is known in Spain, is a huge celebration, without a doubt one of the most traditional and popular days. Since ancient times, just at the arrival of the summer solstice on the evening of June 21st, people have welcomed in the warmer weather with celebrations of fire, the ritual flames consuming all as a sign of rebirth and renewed life.


The origins of the celebration are indeed ancient; however they are also equally mysterious. There are some who believe it goes back to the Neolithic Age, when pagan celebrations were held to give strength to the sun god and thank him for the year's harvest. One important aspect of the summer solstice is that it marks the longest day of the year and is therefore followed by the shortest night, so from that moment forward, the daylight hours begin to wane.

Over time, this pagan tradition became christianized by the Church of Rome, who had it coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Saint John the Baptist. This adaptation to Christian ritual occurred in the 5th century of the Christian era.*

JesusAlthough varying in specific regional traditions, the celebration has remained constant to the verve and popularity for which it became known, bringing together communities and groups of families and friends to participate in the annual holiday. For centuries now, places near and far all over the European continent have glowed luminously with fire, one of the most essential, yet one of many equally important elements associated with this celebration.

As it happens, it is in Spain where the evening celebrations of Saint John have remained true with the passing centuries, being celebrated with particular intensity in its towns and cities. Traditions such as Les Falles d'Isil in the Catalan Pyrenees, La Crema deth Haro in the Vall d'Aran, the unique celebrations held in Ciutadella and the Fogueres in Alacant, all intensified with the arrival of the flame from El Canigó, symbolizing the united cultural identity of Catalan-speaking lands.

Fire is the most fundamental element associated with the Saint John's Eve celebration, as since ancient times it has symbolized renewal and the giving of thanks for bountiful harvests. However it isn't the only symbolic element. One other element is water: a magic and purifying element which is inevitably linked to the Christianization of the celebration. Saint John, according to Christian tradition, was the hermit who baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan river. The magical properties that have been popularly attributed to water on Saint John's Day are endless, which is in sharp contrast to the Catholic queensChurch strictly forbidding contact with water or even washing oneself on Saint John's Day.

Lastly, one other important element worth mentioning belongs to the plant kingdom: the group of plants known in our country as 'Saint John's herbs', which include Saint John's Wort, Carline thistle, **vervain, lavender, thyme…all these plants are in full flower at this time of year, and are known for their healing properties, particularly during the celebrations held on Saint John's Eve.


Saint John's Eve is one of, if not the most magical of all nights. A myriad of rituals associated with fire and water have been passed down over the ages that still exist today. There are traditions such as leaping over the bonfires to free oneself from sicknesses and bad omens; or the healing properties associated with the morning dew and a wide variety of summer herbs and plants that cause warts, herpes and skin diseases to disappear, while at the same time bringing good luck and fortune. Besides, according to the tradition, Saint John's Eve is the night when the wishes of those in love are brought into being by way of ancient spells and incantations. Also a number of rituals to enhance fertility abound on this day. And to top things off, witches gather and plot a myriad of twisted events, as well as share rituals using magic potions known only unto them. As you can see, there is no lack of magical elements associated with Saint John's Eve.



Saint John's Eve and the following day of the Feast of Saint John the Baptist are full of ancient traditions. Obviously the celebration held on the night before the Saint's Day, also known as the **'verbena' is the most popular.


People light bonfires, firecrackers and fireworks, decorate their balconies and celebrate until the early hours of the morning. One other tradition that finds its origin in ancient times are the 'ordalies', or a sort of trial by ordeal, consisting of a ritual closely linked to the young unmarried women living in rural areas. In order to predict the identity of their future husband, they follow such rituals as breaking an egg into a container full of water. The young women use the shape taken by the egg white to sense what tools their future husband will use to work the land. As regards gastronomy, traditional foods eaten on this day were ring-shaped cakes, gradually popularized into the tasty fruit 'coca' pastries eaten today.


There are even cocas filled with creams and 'cabell d'àngel' (a sweet pumpkin filling). Common beverages include 'vi ranci', literally 'rancid' wine, as well as sweet wines, popularized by the Catalan cava consumed today.

firesan joan

* Although the Church incorporated the celebration to coincide as part of the feast of Saint John the Baptist, it's certain that the rituals of pagan origin were the moral downfall for many a Catholic priest. This was the case with Saint Eligius, or Eloi, the patron saint of metal and silversmiths, who was convinced that rituals around fire were the work of the devil. ** The word 'verbena' comes from the Catalan name for the vervain plant, a plant with small purplish flowers that was used in ancient times as an offering to the pagan gods and which was also believed to be an aphrodisiac.


“corpus christi Thursday June 11th 2009”

corpus christiThe nun Juliana of Liège used to have a strange vision every time she began to pray, which had been happening since her youth, in which a full moon appeared with its centre darkened by a shadow. Finally it was Jesus Christ himself who told her of the significance of the vision which had become an obsession for Juliana: the bright circle signified all liturgical celebrations and these were only darkened by the absence of a feast day dedicated to the exaltation of the actual presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, which at that time was questioned by several sectors of the Church.

corpus christi
Official recognition of the feast day was given in 1246 in a synod called by Roberto de Torote, Bishop of Liège and a "Papal Bull" document was issued in 1263 in which he decreed that the date of the feast of Corpus Christi would be the Thursday following the eighth day of Whitsuntide. Finally, in 1317, John XXII ordered that the Body of Christ should be part of a solemn, public procession and from this time on, the feast of Corpus Christi became more and more widespread and popular.

corpus chrisitigianta
The feast day arrived in Spain sometime during the 14th century, but it is difficult to establish the order of events with regard to this, although it would seem that Girona and Barcelona were the first readily to accept it, followed by Valencia, Lleida, Seville and Toledo.

Today, the event is celebrated in towns all over Spain with colourful and lively processions. All types of characters take part in the celebrations -members of guilds and brotherhoods (the feast of Corpus Christi has always been closely linked to the guilds), dance groups, devils, dwarfs, giants and eagles.

In Valencia, mystery plays are performed on wooden floats called roques dating from 1413, although these are gradually deteriorating. Apart from the Gigantes y Cabezudos (giants and carnival figures with enormous heads), which are directly related to this particular feast day, the Host (Host or simply Communion Bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist) is accompanied on its journey through the streets by the carnival figures of cocas (evil bogeymen), mulassas (carnival animals), and tarascas (dragons). The streets are often covered by a carpet of aromatic herbs the so-called flower carpets, which are often great works of art and beauty, and are now especially popular in Catalonia, Galicia and the Canary Islands.

In La Patum in Berga (Barcelona) Turks and Cavaliers take part, whose battles mirror the confrontations between Moors and Christians, and also the following: diables (devils), which throw fireworks and rockets, the mulaguita or mulafera which is a type of enormous animal with a giraffe's neck which breathes fire, dwarfs, giants, and finally the crowned eagle which represents royal power and freedom of the citizens from feudal landowners.

flowersflowerscorpus christi





The international working class holiday; Mayday, originated in pagan Europe. It was a festive holy day celebrating the first spring planting. The ancient Celts and Saxons celebrated May 1st as Beltane or the day of fire. Bel was the Celtic god of the sun.




There is evidence that in ancient times pagan celebrations occurred on the nearest full moon rather than the 1st of May. The Saxons began their May day celebrations on the eve of May, April 30. It was an evening of games and feasting celebrating the end of winter and the return of the sun and fertility of the soil. Torch bearing peasants and villager would wind their way up paths to the top of hills or mountain crags and then ignite wooden wheels which they would roll down into the fields. The revelers, lead by the Goddess of the Hunt; Diana (sometimes played by a pagan-priest in women's clothing) and the Horned God Herne, would travel up the hill shouting, chanting and singing, while blowing hunting horns. This night became known in Europe as Walpurgisnacht, or night of the witches


Besides the selection of the May Queen from the eligible young women of the village, to rule the crops until harvest there was the raising of the phallic Maypole, around which the young single men and women of the village would dance holding on to the ribbons until they became entwined, with their ( hoped for) new love. And of course there was Robin Goodfellow, or the Green Man who was the Lord of Misrule for this day. Mayday was a celebration of the common people, and Robin would be the King/Priest/Fool for a day. Priests and Lords were the butt of many jokes, and the Green Man and his supporters; Mummers (medieval performers/actors ) would make jokes and poke fun at the local authorities. * The Queen of the May reflected the life of the fields and Robin reflected the hunting traditions of the woods. Many of these pagan rites were later absorbed by the Christian church in order to win over converts from the 'Old Religion'.


The church and state did not take kindly to these celebrations, especially during times of popular rebellion. Mayday and the Maypole were outlawed in the 1600's. The May eve celebrations were eventually outlawed by the Catholic church, but were still celebrated by peasants until the late 1700's. The trade societies still celebrated Mayday until the 18th Century.


Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a Maypole. May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. It is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Since May 1st is the Feast of St Philip & St James, they became the patron saints of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm labourers a day off.


The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the Eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. Most countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1, also known as 'International Workers' Day. In Europe the day has older significance as a rural festival which is predominantly more important than that of the Labour Day movement. In countries other than the United States and Canada, the holiday has become internationalised and several countries hold multi-day celebrations including parades, shows and other patriotic and labour-oriented events. (N.B. Labor day in USA is on first Monday in September)


Mayday, which had been banned for being a holiday of the common people, had been reclaimed once again for the common people.


Hitler chose the night of the 1st May to commit suicide in 1945
In Paris in 1889 the International Working Men's Association declared May 1st an international working class holiday in commemoration of the Haymarket Martyrs. The red flag became the symbol of the blood of working class martyrs in their battle for workers rights.
Some different drinks that people world-wide will use to toast May Day, for example beer in Bavaria (Germany), Sima in Savonlinna (Finland), cider in Cornwall and mead in Merthyr (Wales)
The tallest maypole is said to have been erected in London on the Strand in 1661; it stood over 143 feet high. It was felled in 1717, when it was used by Isaac Newton to support Huygen's new reflecting telescope


“La Virgen de Los Desamparados in Alcalà de Xivert & Valencia”



LA VIRGEN DE LOS DESAMPARADOS / OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED ONES, PATRON SAINT OF THE TOWNS : is always celebrated the second and third Sunday of May. The feast day is in honour of the patroness of Alcalà de Xivert, during which there are masses and afterwards there are processions of the Virgin during which people wear traditional Valencian fancy dress.

In the 15th century, a confraternity was founded in Valencia to take care of abandoned children and looked after the mentally ill (hence "the forsaken", under the invocation of Our Lady of the Abandoned Ones). The institute was established but lacked a statue to preside over it. The Legend goes that three extraordinarily handsome youths dressed as pilgrims knocked on its door, asking for asylum. A friar who greeted the pilgrims had a blind wife. They offered to carve the needed statue in payment for shelter. TVIRGENhey only asked that appropriate material be provided and that they be left alone and undisturbed in a room to work at ease for three days. The offer was accepted. During the three days, the youths remained locked in the room. At the end of that time, the brothers went to inquire if they needed anything. The door was locked and no one responded to their requests to open it. Finally, they forced the door open and entered, but there was no sign of the three young men. Instead, in the center of the room they found a majestic and protective statue of Our Lady that the young men had carved. At the same moment the woman's blindness was cured. Since then it is believed that the three men were angels, and various Spanish artists who were inspired by the image commented on the supernatural element in the statue. This extraordinary fact was followed by countless miracles worked on behalf of the Virgen de los Desamparados.

In 1885 Our Lady of the Abandoned Ones was proclaimed Patroness of Valencia. More details from



“THE ESTRELLA DAMM PRIMAVERA SOUND 2009” Barcelona 28 to 30 May 2009

“THE SAN MIGUEL PRIMAVERA SOUND 2010” Barcelona 27 to 29 May 2010

PRIMAVERAPrimavera Sound 2009 takes place at the Parc del Forum, Barcelona between Thursday 29th and Saturday 31st May. Situated right on the coast, it's a beautiful atmosphere to soak up some brilliant music.

Confirmed acts so far are *Neil Young, and My Bloody Valentine as headliners, with Spiritualized, **Saint Etienne, Damien Jurado, Gang Gang Dance, Alela Diane, Michael Nyman, Extra Life (presenting their debut album "Secular Works"), Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, The Soft Pack, Throwing Muses, The Vaselines, A Certain Ratio, Oneida, Joe Crepúsculo with Los Destructores, Jay Reatard, Deerhunter, The Bad Plus, and Art Brut. Acts confirmed for Pitchfork stage include Bowerbirds, The Bug, Crystal Antlers, Crystal Stilts, The Mae Shi, Plants & Animals, Ponytail, The Tallest Man On Earth, Vivian Girls, Wavves.

AMBIENTEPrimavera Sound 2009 three-day tickets are on sale at 155 € & one-day tickets will cost 70 € (subject to booking fee).Selling points: Tick Tack Ticket network, CD Drome stores, RIFT stores, PayPal,, Fnac Francia and Seetickets UK.

*NEIL YOUNG CONFIRMED AT ESTRELLA DAMM PRIMAVERA SOUND 2009. This will be the first time he has come back to Barcelona since 1987. On Saturday 30th of May, he'll be performing for two and a half hours. Few artists have managed to carry on throughout four decades the way he has, without ever losing their passion, their interest, and their commitment..

**New artists,like the british band Saint Etienne, who will present a show focused on their first record ("Foxbase Alpha") and with most of their hit songs... more information and details on




snailWelcome to the "Aplec del Caragol" (the Snail Festival) Lleida. 22 to 24 May 2009 & 21 to 23 May 2010

Eating snails is not an exclusively Gallic phenomenon, as some 12,000 inhabitants of the Catalonian town of Lleida prove. Every May, local citizens are joined by snail enthusiasts for the Snail Festival (Aplec del Caragol) in the Camps Elisis Gardens.

In 2009, this event celebrates 30 years since its foundation by local gastronome Manolo Calpe. Some 12 tonnes of the exotic mollusc are savoured (along with some favourite Lleidan sauces) over the three days of the fiesta.

snailssnailThere is plenty of eating, drinking and dancing on offer, and make sure you don your most colourful garb - after all, it's not every day that you get to go to a snail feast. Many of the peñas (groups/gatherings) are private and so it's best to hook up with some locals to guarantee an invitation. If you're unlucky, numerous restaurants offer typical snail dishes.

festivalThe main ingredient of the meals served during the Festival is the snail, which is why snail consumption skyrockets in May. Snails are shipped to Lleida from the rest of Spain, North Africa and South America to the delight of the Lleida snail lovers and visitors to the city. On the Festival grounds there is an area set aside for the general public to taste dishes made with different kinds of snails at reasonable prices.

La Federació de Colles de l’Aplec del Caragol (Federation of Snail Festival Social Clubs) which organizes the Aplec, is made up of about a hundred different social clubs with members of all ages and social classes. These social clubs are the heart and soul of the festival. You can get a real feel for the vitality of these social clubs on the Sunday during the Festival, when morning parades fill the city streets with a burst of colour and music. The bright costumes and flags paraded along the Old Bridge with Seu Vella Cathedral in the background are a breathtaking sight. More than 12.000 club members and 250.000 visitors actively participate in the Snail Festival. Each club is assigned a space along the Camps Elisis, the fair grounds where the Festival is held. For three days, the focus is on festivities, gastronomy and leisure activities in an atmosphere of friendliness and hospitality where everyone feels at home.

The Snail Festival begins on Friday afternoon and lasts until Sunday. There is something for everyone, including outdoor evening celebrations, concerts, music, “castells” (human towers), competitions and much more. Besides gastronomy, the Snail Festival offers an extensive programme of free activities open to one and all: performances, charanga music, outdoor evening celebrations, exhibitions of dances and castell human towers, and entertaining competitions. A number of events take place at the same time in different parts of the city, which means there is always something fun and exciting happening during the Snail Festival weekend.

cooking snailspartying

Besides the Snail Festival, there are hundreds of other exciting things to do. Impressive monuments such as Seu Vella Cathedral, the Templar castle of Gardeny, La Panera Art Centre, Roda Roda Automobile Museum and the Water Museum; the May festival, the Moors and Christians Festival and the International Puppet Festival; Senglar Rock Music Festival, the International Jazz Festival and the opera season at the Auditorium; the Latin American Film Festival and the Animac International Animated Film Festival; the BTT Bicycle Centre; the gastronomy and culture of Lleida; and the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe.
For more information


sant jordi




sant jordi 23 april






"While many around the world give roses on Saint Valentine's Day, in Barcelona they've been exchanging them on April 23 since the 15th century. Today being rescued from dragons is rarely required, so 21st-century men retain their hero status by buying 6 million long-stemmed roses in one day. It's a rare señora or señorita who strolls the streets without a bouquet."

actst george

Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Anglican Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Eastern Catholic Churches. He is immortalised in the tale of George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April. He is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.


St. George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as many cities.

st georgeThe Life and Death
George was born to a Christian noble family during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD, in Lydda, Palestine. His father Geronzio was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother was from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici (which means "can not be defeated"), so by this the child was raised with Christian beliefs.
In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best soldier and the son of his best official, Geronzio. George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted.
shieldRecognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was miraculously resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honor him as a martyr.




dragondragonSaint George and the Dragon
In the Western version, a dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya or the city of Lydda, depending on the source. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, in order to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays it and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

cakeSt George's Cross
The "Colours of Saint George", or St George's Cross are a white flag with a red cross, frequently borne by entities over which he is patron (e.g. England, Georgia, Liguria, Catalonia etc). The origin of the St George's Cross came from the earlier plain white tunics worn by the early crusaders.

Patronage and remembrance
With the revival of Scottish and Welsh nationalism, there has been renewed interest within England in Saint George, whose memory had been in abeyance for many years. This is most evident in the St George's flags which now have replaced Union Flags in stadiums where English sports teams compete. St George’s Day is celebrated each year in London with a day of celebration run by the Greater London Authority and the London Mayor. The City of Salisbury holds an annual St George’s Day pageant, the origins of which are believed to go back to the thirteenth century.


In Spain: San Jorge, in Catalunya: Sant Jordi,
in Aragon: San Jorge).
In Spain, Saint George also came to be considered as the patron saint of the medieval Crown of Aragon and the territory of four current autonomous communities of Spain: Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Nowadays Saint George is the patron saint of both Aragon and Catalonia, as well as the patron saint of historically important Spanish towns such as Cáceres or Alcoi.

bookbook stalls



Legend has it that Saint George, Patron Saint of Catalonia and international knight-errant, slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful Catalan princess. From the dragon's blood sprouted a rosebush, from which the hero plucked the prettiest rose for the princess. Hence the traditional Rose Festival celebrated in Barcelona since the Middle Ages to honor chivalry and love. At the end of the 19th century, Sant Jordi became a Catalan symbol as it was felt that his struggle against the dragon was similar to the Catalan struggle for freedom. In 1923, this lover's "fiesta" became even more poetic when it merged with "el dia del llibre", or The Day of the Book, to mark the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, the two giants of literary history, on April 23, 1616. (the rose as a symbol of love and the book as a symbol of culture)

It became traditional to give a rose and a book to a loved one and annual literary competitions were held to stimulate young people to cultivate, respect and take a delight in the Catalan literature and language, a tradition which inspired UNESCO in 1995, to declare this date the International Day of the Book.

Offer your lady a rose, buy your man a book. For those ambling readers, choosing from overwhelming hardcover and paperback options may be the most strenuous challenge. Not every book on display is great literature, but since this fiesta is also known as the Day of Lovers, women shop for the perfect books for the men they love.rose


st georgeCatalan proverb

Si plou per Sant Jordi les cireres en orris !


If it rains on St. George’s day, there will be no cherries!






fool “Whence proceeds the custom of making April Fools?”


the fool



In 1708 a correspondent wrote in to the British Apollo magazine to ask, “Whence proceeds the custom of making April Fools?” The question is one that many people are still asking today.

In the April 2nd, 1698 edition of Dawks’s News-Letter (a British newspaper) reported that “Yesterday being the first of April, several persons were sent to the Tower Ditch to see the Lions washed.” Sending gullible victims to the Tower of London to see the “washing of the lions” (a non-existent ceremony) was a popular prank. It became traditional for this prank to be played on April Fool’s Day.


The most widespread theory about the origin of April Fool's Day involves the Gregorian calendar reform of the late sixteenth century.

fish fool



The theory goes like this: In 1582 France became the first country to switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar established by the Council of Trent (1563). This switch meant, among other things, that the beginning of the year was moved from the end of March to January 1. fishThose who failed to keep up with the change, who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th (known in England as Lady Day) and April 1st, had various jokes played on them. For instance, pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were given the epithet Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish. Thus, April Fool's Day was born.




April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. Traditionally, in some countries, the jokes only last until noon: someone who plays a trick after noon is called an "April Fool". Elsewhere, such as in Ireland, France, and the USA, the jokes last all day. In Scotland - April Fools' Day is actually celebrated for two days and the custom is known as "hunting the gowk" (the cuckoo), and April fools are "April gowks". The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.




“easter sunday facts-april 12th”

eggsIn medieval times a festival of egg throwing was held in church, during which the priest would throw a hard-boiled egg to one of the choirboys. It was then tossed from one choirboy to the next and whoever held the egg when the clock struck 12 was the winner and retained the egg.

The first Easter baskets were made to look like bird's nests.

Easter Bonnets are a throw back to the days when the people denied themselves the pleasure of wearing finery for the duration of Lent.

The traditional act of painting eggs is called Pysanka.

To Egyptians, the egg was a sacred token of the renovation of mankind after the Flood.

The egg has always been a symbol of the Resurrection to Christians.

The date of Passover is variable as it is dependent on the phases of the moon, and thus Easter is also a movable feast.

The custom of giving eggs at Easter time has been traced back to Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, to whom the egg was a symbol of life.

Every year at Easter Pope John Paul sends his " Urbi et Orbi " to the world.

bunnyEaster is now celebrated (in the words of the Book of Common Prayer) on the first Sunday after the full moon which happens on or after March 21, the Spring Equinox.

Some Churches still keep up the old tradition of using evergreens - symbolic of eternal life - embroidered in red on white, or woven in straw, but most now prefer displays of flowers in the spring colours of green, yellow and white.

In the United States Easter is celebrated with a large Easter Egg Hunt by children on the White House Lawn.

To the Jews, the egg marked the time of their departure from the land of Egypt.

By tradition, it was obligatory (or at least lucky) for churchgoers to wear some bright new piece of clothing - at least an Easter bonnet, if not a complete new outfit.



Fira de la mel i l'oli del Perelló 4 & 5 April

HONEY FAIRLa Fira de la Mel i l'Oli (honey and oil fair) del Perelló is held every year in April and it shows the importance of the village in Baix Ebre as a main producer of honey in Catalunya. Alongside the fair, a honey competition is organised, and beekeepers from all over Spain take part. There are 4 categories: orange tree honey, rosemary honey, a thousand flowers honey and high mountain honey. More info
There are many activities over the 2 days and many craft stalls. The Freesia Group Perelló should also have a stall at the HONEY FAIR to raise money.HONEYFAIR


How Mothering Sunday became Mother's Day-MARCH 22ND 2009

MOTHERS DAYChildren across the country honour their mothers by sending them a card or giving them a bunch of flowers on the fourth Sunday in Lent.  But do you know how the arrival of American servicemen in East Anglia led to the revival of the centuries-old festival of Mothering Sunday? By tradition, Mothering Sunday was a day when children who had gone to work as apprentices and domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family.

Today it is a day when we give presents, flowers and home-made cards to our mothers. The customs have changed and for many people the name has changed too. And the reason why Mothering Sunday became Mother’s Day has its roots in East Anglia’s local history. At the outset Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day were two distinct festivals with entirely different beginnings. Mothering Sunday originated in seventeenth-century British culture; Mother’s Day was an American innovation in 1913.
Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or “mother” church once a year. So each year, in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their “mother” church, or the main church or cathedral of the area.


IN CHURCHMost historians think that it was this annual Lenten theme that led to the custom of working children being given the day off to visit their family. At that time it was quite normal for children to leave home for work once they reached ten years of age.
As they walked back home along the country lanes on Mothering Sunday, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother.


SIMMEL CAKEOften they brought a gift with them, a “mothering cake” – a kind of fruitcake with two layers of marzipan, known as simnel cake.
Mothering Sunday was also called Refreshment Sunday, because the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed that day. But, by the nineteenth century, the holiday was dying out, and by the 1930s the keeping of many of the old Mothering Sunday customs had lapsed in most English parishes. 

PRESENTIts revival was brought about just a decade later through the influence of the American servicemen stationed in East Anglia during the Second World War.  A new festival to honour mothers had emerged in the United States of America at the start of the twentieth century. Mother’s Day was introduced by Anna Jarvis, a young woman whose mother died in May 1906. A year later, Anna told a friend that she wished the day could be set aside to pay tribute to all mothers. The idea began to spread and was widely supported. The governor of Anna’s state, Philadelphia, proclaimed the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day.
The festival continued to gain popularity and, in 1913, the US Senate and House of Representatives officially dedicated the day to the memory of “the best mother in the world – your mother”.

,OTHERS CARDIn December 1941 the United States entered the war and by the second half of 1942 American servicemen began to arrive in East Anglia in large numbers. Many more airfields were needed and East Anglia’s flat landscape was perfect for runways and new airbases. It was here that the Allied forces launched their air power to raid and severely weaken the German stronghold on the Continent. Away from their families, these young men were surprised that the English did not have a Mother's Day. They often regarded their English hostess as a kind of foster-mother and each year on the second Sunday in May they did what they would have done for their own mother – gave her presents and flowers to thank her for her kindness and care of them.

British sons and daughters caught on to the idea and, after the Americans had returned home at the end of the war, they continued the practice, reverting back to keeping it on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Thus the Americans based in East Anglia helped to revive the centuries-old tradition of paying homage to mothers with a bunch of flowers.


Year Mothering Sunday
in the U.K.
Mothers Day
in the U.S.
2005 March May 8
2006 March 26 May 14
2007 March 18 May 13
2008 March 2 May 11
2009 March 22 May 10
2010 March 14 May 9
2011 April 3 May 8
2012 March 18 May 13
2013 March 10 May 12
2014 March 30 May 11
2015 March 15 May 10
2016 March 6 May 8






PASSION PLAYLa Passió d'Ulldecona 2009 (14/03/2010 to 04/05/2010) OLD POSTER


The Passion play is a

dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Christ.

It includes the trial, suffering, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. Historically, Passion plays grew out of the liturgy of the Catholic Church and developed into elaborate performances covering the entire history of God's providence of human redemption. In the play, the Passion is thought to play the central role. The passion play later evolved into more focused dramatic presentations dealing with the final events in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
Contemporary productions have been created throughout the world, some featuring hundreds of actors, huge stages, special effects, elaborate props, live animals, and audiences in the tens of thousands. The highly successful film, Passion of the Christ, produced and directed by Mel Gibson, is essentially a Hollywood version of a Passion play.

In Catalonia, it is common for villages to present different passion plays every Easter, like the ones in Esparreguera, Olesa de Montserrat or Cervera, first documented in 1538. Olesa's 1996 production surpassed the world record for the most people acting onstage at the same time, with 726 persons. Balmaseda, in Euskadi, also has a passion play. The plays, which became increasingly elaborate and sometimes featured hundreds of actors, were highly popular in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They also became more secularized and were even banned in some areas by Roman Catholic authorities, growing even more scarce after the Protestant Reformation. Proponents of the reformation objected to their pomp and pageantry. Several versions of the plays survived and they experienced a revival beginning in the late nineteenth century.

The Passion of Ulldecona was represented for the first time on 19 March of 1955, with the title of "The drama of Jesus" in five acts and thirty-one sets, under the direction of their creator, Josep Mª Rafí i Poblet, and 103 actors. The following year, in 1956, The divine tragedy is staged, by Father José Julio Martínez. The two following years, the version from Father Josep Mampel, that represents the Passion Play with a work of anonymous author, and from the year 1959 in 1963 with the divine tragedy of Christ.

The work of The Passion of Ulldecona was entrusted To the Regional Government of Tarragona in 1984, and the writer and professor, Jaume Vidal i Alcover (Manacor 1923-1990), was instructed to do a text in Catalan. The Passion in Catalan therefore did not start to until 1984. It is based on the texts of the gospels of Saint Mateu, with translation from the monks of Montserrat, and complemented with those from Saint Lluc, the Patron Saint of Ulldecona, and incorporating the text of the "Devallament de la Creu" that you can find in the archives of the parish.





Performances start at 16'00 h.
Performances in Catalan: Autor. Jaume Vidal i ALcover 8-15-22-29 of March
in Castellano: Autor. Josep Mª Junyent Quintana 5,19,26 of April & 1 of May
Information: 638 496 009 tickets: 669 345 516








2010 is the Year of the Tiger, February 14, 2010 is the first day of the Chinese new year - Year of the Tiger..
which is also known by its formal name of Geng Yin. The fact that the date of Chinese New Year varies within a lunar month is a clue that it's linked to the new moon. A rough, and almost infallible guide, is that the Chinese New Year date falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The winter solstice always falls on December 21st, the next new moon is January 15th, and the second new moon February 14th 2010OX

Gong Xi Fa Cai (May You be Happy, May You be Wealth)!CHINESE NEW YEAR


Chinese New Year (according to the lunar calendar) starts on the New Moon (26th January 2009) after the Winter Solstice and is celebrated by Chinese people all over the world. It heralds new beginnings and a fresh start. At a social level, it is very much a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. Chinese New Year falls on January 26th (Monday) 2009 (Lunar calendar) 15.55 China, (Monday 26th United Kingdom 07:55) (Sunday 25h California USA 23:55) (Monday 26th Barcelona 08:55) due to time differences Chinese New Year will fall what appears to be a day early in USA & Canada (British Columbia, Vancouver). I have done a Chinese New Year world time converter 2009 table to assist you. This is the date you celebrate the Chinese New Year with Ang Pow, fireworks etc and not the date you use to place your cures and enhancers 2009 in Feng Shui (February 4th 2009).


The Lunar Chinese New Year Day is very different from the Solar (Hsia) New Year Day (February 4th 2009). The Lunar Calendar formulates the days of the month according to the cycle of the moon whereas the solar year is governed by the sun. Although the Chinese solar year starts on a different date from the western year, the theory whereby the year is calculated on how long it takes the earth to go round the sun is the same. The lunar cycle lasts approximately 29.5 days and in order that the start of the Lunar New Year is not too far removed from the Solar New Year, the Chinese insert an extra month, this being called an intercalary month, once every few years. This is why Chinese New Year Day falls on a different date in each of the two calendars.


Whilst the solar (Hsia) calendar starts the New Year at the beginning of Spring, which falls normally between the 4th and 5th of February, the lunar (yueh) calendar marks the new year on the second New moon after the winter solstice. In 2009, Lunar Chinese New Year also called the ‘Spring Festival’, falls on 26th January 2009 which is the New Year that is celebrated by all ethnic Chinese. The solar New Year (4th February 2009) is not celebrated at all and only used for Feng Shui placement.


You may have come across a few websites stating that 2009 is the 4707th Chinese New Year, if you cannot find the reason, here is an answer for you:
The Yellow King's appointment was held in the spring of 2697 B.C. But they used the winter solstice day as the first day of the year. So the first winter solstice was on around December 23rd, 2698 B.C. Today's January 1st means nothing to the Yellow King. If we count that extra eight days in 2698 B.C. for a year, then year 2009 is the 4706th Chinese year.


The weeks running up to New Year’s Day are very important because one must be well prepared for the New Year as it sets the example for the year’s luck. For one, all debts have to be repaid before the beginning of the New Year or else you will be in debt to others throughout the year. By the same token, anything lent out to family and friends must be collected before the beginning of the New Year or else one will be lending for the rest of the year.

Making sure that the house is cleaned and dusted is important to ensure that old stagnant qi is cleared away making way for fresh auspicious qi. The whole house must be cleaned before New Year's Day. Cobwebs must be cleared out and any old and broken items thrown away. Following cleaning, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dustpans and other cleaning equipment are put away out of sight. To do otherwise would be to threaten the new qi that is arriving and this is something that everyone wishes to avoid. For our home and office it is a bit of a pain as we treat the western New Year the same as the eastern and we end up doing all these rituals twice every year with such a short space in between.

This is also the time to renew protective talismans 2009 that are used to expel evil. To achieve this, people will decorate the home with auspicious couplets and emblems with the additional aim of summon good fortune. These appear on paper printed in red or with a red background. To the Chinese, red is a life giving colour, associated with summer, the south and the vermilion bird, which is similar to a phoenix (oddly enough symbolic of rebirth in the west too) and represents the fire element. Red to the Chinese also represents good fortune, fame and riches. Be very careful when using red inside your home though, I see many homes and businesses that use very bright reds thinking it will give them good luck, in traditional Feng Shui this is the most potent colour and if used correctly can give good results, if used in a wrong location it can cause many problems, so a good tip is to keep colours neutral unless you are confidant of the elements and their associated colours and usage.



LANTERNSIn readiness for the New Year the house must be decorated with live blooming plants which symbolise rebirth and new growth. Flowers such as pussy willow, azalea, peony and water lily or narcissus symbolise wealth and high position in one's career. If there are no flowers, the result would be a lack of fruit later in the year. It is considered very lucky for the household if a plant blooms on New
Year's Day as they can then expect a year of prosperity. Plum blossoms and bamboo are also displayed to symbolise perseverance, reliability and longevity.

After flowers come the fruits. Oranges and tangerines are two very symbolic fruits in the celebration of Chinese New Year. They are symbols for abundant happiness. The colour of oranges and tangerines represents gold and, together with a ‘hung bao’ ang pow, (red packet containing money), they are offered to friends and family as gifts symbolising gold ingots.
About a week before Lunar New Year, traditional families will be busy preparing the religious ceremony performed with tributes and offerings in honour of Heaven (Tien Shen) and Earth (Ti Tu), and of the various deities of the household together with family ancestors. One of the most well know deities is the Kitchen God who resides over the stove and is said to keep an eye on the affairs of the household, making an annual report on what the family has done in the past year to the Jade Emperor in Heaven around about a week before Chinese New Year Day. Rites and offerings are made to the Kitchen God (Zhou Khun) on this day in the hope that he will speak well of the deeds of the family.

FUTraditionally, the run up to the celebration of Chinese New Year is the 'Reunion Dinner'. An extravagant banquet is laid out to mark the onset of the New Year where young and old gather for a reunion dinner to symbolise family unity. Family members try to get home from different places before or on New Year’s Eve to celebrate this special occasion in the family home. Married daughters will spend their reunion dinner in the husband’s family home.
This is a family banquet of special dishes and delicacies artistically named with auspicious symbolic meanings. The dinner will start with a prayer of tribute and offerings to the ancestors and deities at the family altar. It is a very colourful and lively affair when every light is supposed to be kept on the whole night.
Some of the dishes that are laid on the banquet table have superstitious attributes such as: Ginkgo nuts which represent gold ingots and are therefore much appreciated. Black moss seaweed is an indicator of prosperity. This is also true in the case of a whole chicken which is a desirable addition to the feast. Dried bean curd is for happiness and luck. Lotus seed is seen as a fertility symbol and signifies having many offspring. Nian Gao is a traditional sweet steamed glutinous rice pudding, the eating of which will aid growth and abundance. Bamboo shoots as, in Chinese, the words sound similar to the Chinese for "hoping that all turns out for the best". A whole fish with its head and tail intact representing togetherness.
CANDLESReunion Dinner
The Reunion Dinner is a very busy affair. The women buzz around the kitchen with the dinner preparation whilst the men either watch TV or (guess what?) play mah-jong. Mah-jong is an extremely important part of Chinese culture and is played by men and women alike, often in halls exclusively dedicated to the game. Mah-jong is linked with gambling with huge sums of money being won and lost by the players. An excellent memory is required to remember which tiles have been laid down and which remain. Once a certain point in a hand has been passed, you need to pay special attention as if you are the one to put down the tile that enables another player to win that hand, you not only have to pay your own losses on the hand but those of the other two losing players as well. This can mean serious money.
Children are bathed and dressed in their new pyjamas and promised the arrival of “Tsai Shen Yeh” (Chai Shen Yeh) (the Wealth God). Whilst they sleep, the parents slip an ang pow (a red envelope with money) under their pillow signifying a visit from ‘Chai Shen Yeh’. Children can also expect to receive red envelopes from uncles and aunts with the amount that is given being dictated by the closeness of the family relationship and also the age of the child. Older children can usually expect to receive more than younger ones and so someone who has a large family and who has taken a hammering on the mah-jong tables is in for trouble.

RED DRAGONAt midnight at the turn of the old and new year, people let off fire-crackers which serve to drive away the evil spirits and old qi of the past year and to greet the arrival of the New Year. In the UK it is legal to set off fireworks on Chinese New Year as with our normal New Year and Guy Fawkes Night.
In your finest and newest clothes New Years Day itself starts with the exchange of good wishes amongst the family. Married couples present the young ones, children and unmarried adults alike with a Hung-Bao. In Chinese culture, instead of giving a wrapped up present as we do at Christmas in the UK, it is a customary to give this red envelope containing some money. The amount contained has to be in even numbers. Even numbers are auspicious unless it is a single Chinese i-ching coin on its own. For example, it could be two dollars, ten or twenty dollars. It is amazing how much one can accumulate in a day. If you follow this link you will find an article on red envelopes and how they used for Chinese New Year; if you follow this link you will find more details
You will also find a piece on Chinese talismans, this is really is superb and you must read it; follow this link after you have finished this article.
The day continues with visits to relatives. The visiting rota has its unspoken hierarchy arrangement. The oldest get to sit at home and wait for the younger relatives to visit them to exchange good wishes. This is a very exciting time for the children as for nearly every ‘Kung Xee Fa Chai’ (it means Congratulations and May you be Prosperous) we recite, we get an ang pow (red envelope containing money) for it.

MARKETThe second day of Chinese New Year is named ‘Kai Nien’ meaning “Year Beginning” which starts with a very early morning breakfast. Again special dishes with symbolic names will be served. The special dish of the day is long noodles which are served with everyone competing to toss the noodles as high as possible with their chopsticks. The tossing of noodles is a symbolic gesture of longevity. This means that, unless you are unable to do so, you stand up and raise your arms full stretch in the air holding the noodles aloft. In order to get extra lift off, some people use super long chopsticks and stand on chairs so you do have to make sure the ceiling fan is turned off.
Unlike in the west, Chinese New Year is not a time for alcoholic excess. In fact, alcohol is generally not drunk as people limit themselves to enormous amounts of Chinese tea. Some will have a Chinese wine with their meal but, particularly as the emphasis is so much on the family nature of the celebrations, nobody goes over the top.

LONDONTwo days of overeating and general fun and games are quite a lot as the Chinese do not hold back on these occasions. The Chinese relationship with food is close all the year but at no time more than at New Year. Many dishes have particular significance especially at this time. Even everyday dishes like fish and turnips have special meanings and none more so than fish balls and meat balls both of which suggest reunion, a most important element at this time. However, after two days, even the Chinese can have enough and recognise that energy levels need to be restored. The third day is therefore a day of calm. Traditionally, it is not a day for risks or adventure. The young ones will venture out to see friends but it is a quiet day. No offices or businesses are open on this day.
Normality returns with business as usual on the fourth day. Many businesses will choose a specific day to start business with the assistance of their Feng Shui Practitioner and initiate the new trading year with a spectacular display of Lion Dance and fire crackers. It is a very noisy and happy affair.

Greetings and an air of festivity remains for another eleven days through to the full moon of the first lunar month when another celebration follows but this time it is to mark the closing of the Spring Festival. Day 15 is also called the ‘Spring Lantern Festival’ (Yuan Xiao Jie). This wonderfully romantic celebration takes place under a full moon on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the year.

On this day, old and young carry a colourful lantern and gather in a neighbouring public place. They gather to admire and appreciate the first full moon of the year (very similar to the Mid Autumn Festival). In China, there are still villages which hold a big Tang Yuan (rice dumplings) cooking and eating session. The dumplings are round and symbolise family unity and completeness. The mid-month Lantern Festival traditionally brings the seasonal passage of the New Year to a conclusion.

What the Chinese do before the New Year to achieve good luck:
• Ensure their house is completely clean from top to bottom, to encourage good luck in the coming year. We spend 2-3 days cleaning every part of our home just before New Year.
• You should open all the windows and doors in every single part of the home as this is said to bring in clean new good luck for the year.
• Switch on the lights in the home inside and out, this is said to attract good luck from outside and if the windows and doors are wide open it is easy for the luck to enter. It is also used to scare away evil sprits.
• Many Chinese will buy a new pair of slippers at New Year, apparently it is said to stop people gossiping about you, In China, face is very important.
• I think this is so all the world but the Chinese spend a lot of time bathing before New Year and they cover themselves with Pomelo leaves to make them healthy for the year. Pomelo is the largest of citrus trees and they grow as large a bowling ball and said to be very healthy to drink and eat.
• The Chinese believe that whatever happens to them on New Years day sets the year ahead and this is why they avoid arguments, using knives, driving too far and they love to gamble on New Years day as they hope to create good luck and wealth.

What the Chinese consider bad luck:
• On New Years day they avoid wearing black or white as black is considered bad luck and white is associated with death and funerals.
• They will never sweep the floor on New Years day as it sweep away all your good luck
• The same with washing their hair, never on New Years day
• Never have a hair cut or cut your nails as it said to hurt their relatives.
• They will never buy a pair of shoes as it is considered very unlucky as the word “shoe” translated means rough in Cantonese and evil in Mandarin.
• Never talk about anything negative especially death.
• Offer anything in fours, four to the Chinese is very bad as four translated sounds like death.





I hope you have enjoyed reading this and may you have a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2009.












PROGAMFESTA MAJOR de la candelera l'ametlla de mar


FESTAFIESTA MAYOR – To celebrate the day of "Our Lady of the Candelera" In honour of the Patron Saint of L’Ametlla de Mar. (1st week in February)

CANDELERAFrom the 2nd of February the main activities begin. There are religious acts such as the procession with Candles (a procession with more than two thousand torches to remember the day when its light saved the fishermen of the village) and the offering of flowers to Our Lady. There are also days which are dedicated to senior citizens, women and sport. Other activities include a meeting of “giants”, dances, street activities, "correfocs", fireworks. The acts start the weekend prior to the 2nd February, with the beginning of the sport contests (football, room football, basketball and athletics).

PATRON SAINTOn the eve of the main day, on the 1st February, in the morning there is prayer and ringing of the bells, and in the afternoon a "passacaglia" summons all to hear the public announcement proclaming the Heiress and the Damsels of Honor for the year.
On the 2nd February the main festivities begin. In the morning there are many acts dedicated to the patron saint of l'Ametlla de Mar; the Virgin of the Candelera, including mass, blessing of the candles and the procession through the church; the floral offering, where all the local members of the village participate; and the procession through the streets of the town, with the candles lit.

The following day the 3rd February is the Day for the Pensioners, a homage to the great persons of the town, activities include the morning procession, the domino competition, mass, and the concert perfomed by the choir. The main incentive of this day is the Competition of Suquet de Peix Calero, one of the gastronomic acts of the Candelera cooked in front of the public. where 20 people compete in order to see who can make the best “suquet” (fish casserole). During the competition you can try regional cakes and “cremat” (hot rum punch) – On the 4 of February it is the Day of the Woman, including a lunch celebrating the feminine "passacaglia".

On 5 February it is on the Day of the Young, with several sport contests and the popular street walk in the morning. Finishing with performances of rock groups that attract the youngsters of the neighbouring towns, and discos continue into the early hours. Information Culture Regidoria (977.49.37.54) and Tourist Association (977.45.64.77)




THREE KINGSCabalgata los Reyes magos3 KINGS

VARIOUS PICTURES 3 KINGSThe tradition in Spain and Catalonia is that the biggest Christmas celebration is not on 25th December, when JC is born, but the big day is when “Los Reyes Magos”, the Three Kings of the Orient (also known as the Three Wise Men Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior) arrive to see the new born baby Jesus ( or “Jesús” as he is known here!) This is called the Night of the 3 Kings, the “Cabalgata los Reyes Magos,” - "Cavalcada de Reis" in Catalan and The Three Kings’ Parade and also know as the “Twelfth Night procession” The Reyes Magos parade in Spain is on 5th January every year. This is the evening before Twelfth Night Epiphany on 6th January, which is the day when the children get their biggest haul of presents.

It makes sense from a gift point of view. Santa Claus is a fine guy with the best of intentions, but we all know he was brewed up by Coca-Cola as a modern day mutant Saint Nicholas and he certainly was not in Bethlehem on 25th December in the Year 0000 with a bulging sack of pressies, was he? Whereas the Three Kings were definately there, albeit 12 days late, but bearing great pressies! So the Kings are worth waiting for.

On the night of 5th December Spanish and Catalan children before going to sleep, put some milk and biscuits next to the Christmas tree for the Three Kings and some water for their camels. They also leave out their best pair of shoes to be filled with presents.

On the next day, 6 January children wake up and see how many presents they have received. If they have been good, they will find a lot of good presents but if they have been naughty they will find coal. These days, the coal is actually made of sugar, but some years ago it was real coal.
During this day, all families enjoy a piece of roscon (a sugar-frosted fruit-filled bread) for breakfast tradition says that the person who finds a novelty such as a coin, in his or her portion will have good luck for the next year.

Both young and old enjoy opening their presents on this day, but sadly it also marks the end of Christmas.
There are lots of processions of the Three Wise Men in each city, the children go along with there parents to see the kings and receive sweets from them. In Barcelona at the Cabalgata los Reyes Magos, or Procession of the Three Kings, crowds gather at the harbour steps of the Moll de Fusta to witness the glorious arrival of the regal trio.

The first sightings of the kings' boat are met with fireworks and a riotous cacophony of fog horns from a flotilla gathered in the port, while a 21-gun salute welcomes them to dry land. Then the colourful Procession of the Three Kings, led by the mayor and the metropolitan guard, heads towards the city centre past some of the city's major monuments, culminating at the floodlit fountain of Montjuïc, where classical music written especially for the event is played.3 KINGS BOAT










ST ANTONIOn January 17th is the festival of ‘Els Tres Tombs de Sant Antoni,' which translates as ‘The Three Turns (circuits) of Saint Anthony.' The festival dates back to the mid-1800s and is dedicated to the patron saint of animals, Sant Antoni. Historically, anyone who worked with livestock could go to this fiesta to receive a blessing from Sant Antoni and ask for a good harvest. A procession of horses, carts, mules and farmers makes three circuits of the town and on the third circuit, the blessings are carried out. In Valls, this festival was banned throughout a large part of the century, and started again in 1980. This celebration is spectacular for the sheer effort and festive spirit that the townspeople enter into with their authentic costumes and laden wagons. Many towns celebrate this event so check your local events.




In El Perelló on 17 January this local festivity is celebrated. The traditional "Three Strolls|Turns", act is done with the presence of numerous trained horses and the blessing of all animals is carried out. Their is also an auction of the traditional "Darrera"which is a cake during a dance " ball a l’aire lliure" . Greatly important, is the "Festa del Calmant" (party of the "Tranquilizer"), which is the famous drink of the festival. Apart from these acts, there are many other activities so that everybody can have fun with the local festivity.

“ELS TRES TOMBS” 17 January events:
A les 8:00h Esmorzar (breakfast)
A les 11:00h Inici dels Tres Tombs Lloc: Plaça deell Firal (the start of the blessings & celebrations)






CAGANERA Caganer is a little statue found in Catalonia, in neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, and in other parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The Traditional Caganer

In Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain and in most of Italy and Southern France, traditional Christmas decorations consist of a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to the Nativity scenes of the English-speaking world but encompassing the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. The caganer is a particular feature of modern Catalan nativity scenes, and is also found in other parts of Spain and southwestern Europe, including Salamanca, Murcia (cagones), Naples (cacone or pastore che caca) and Portugal (cagöes). Accompanying Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds and company, the caganer is often tucked away in a corner of the model, typically nowhere near the manger scene. There is a good reason for his obscure position in the display, for "caganer" translates from Catalan to English as "pooper", and that is exactly what this little statue is doing — defecating.


Possible reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:
* Tradition.
* Perceived humor.
* Finding the Caganer is a fun game, especially for children.
* The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. However, this is probably a "posteriori" explanation, and few cite this reason for including the Caganer in the Nativity scene.
* The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, or gender, everyone defecates.
* Increased naturalism of an otherwise archetypal (thus idealised) story, so that it is more believable, taken literally and seriously.
* The idea that God will manifest her/himself when s/he is ready, without regard for whether, we human beings are ready or not.
* The caganer reinforces that the infant Jesus is God in human form, with all that being human implies.



The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 17th century. An Iberian "votive deposit" was found near Tornabous in the Urgell depicting a holy Iberian warrior defecating on his falcata. This started a short lived series of polemics between the Institut d'Estudis Catalans and the Departament d'Arqueologia in the Conselleria de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya as to whether that can be regarded as a proto-caganer (which would draw the origins of this tradition far before than it is thought) or just a pre-combat ritual.


Originally, the Caganer was portrayed as a Catalan peasant wearing a traditional hat called a barretina — a red stocking hat with a black band.


The practice is tolerated by the local Catholic church. Caganers are easiest to find before Christmas in holiday markets, like the one in front of the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, which has tables and tables of caganers. Caganers have even been featured in art exhibits.

The caganer is not the only defecating character in the Catalan Christmas tradition—another is the Tió de Nadal, which also makes extensive use of the image of human waste production. Other mentions of feces and defecation are common in Catalan folklore, indeed, one popular Catalan phrase before eating says "menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort!" (Eat well, poop strong and don't be afraid of death!).



The Caganer can also be found in other European cultures:
* In Dutch / Flemish : Kakkers / Schijterkes
* In French : Père la Colique
* In German : Choleramännchen or Hinterlader

The Caganer in the modern day

SHITTERThe Catalans have modified this tradition somewhat since the 1940s. In addition to the traditional caganer design, you can easily find other characters assuming the caganer position, such as nuns, devils, Santa Claus, celebrities, athletes, historical figures, politicians, Spanish royalty, and other famous people past and present, including Pope John Paul II, Salvador Dalí, prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Princess Letizia and even Osama bin Laden. Just days after his election as US president in 2008, a "pooper" of Barack Obama was made available.

In recent years a urinating statue, or Pixaner, has been added to the Christmas pantheon, but, unlike the Caganer, this addition should not be considered as an authentic tradition.


Sanitization. In 2005, the Barcelona city council provoked a public outcry by commissioning a nativity scene which did not include a Caganer. Many saw this as an attack on Catalan traditions. The local government countered these criticisms by claiming that the Caganer was not included because a recent by-law had made public defecation and urination illegal, meaning that the Caganer was now setting a bad example. Following a campaign against this decision called Salvem el caganer (Save the caganer), and widespread media criticism, the 2006 nativity restored the Caganer, who appeared on the northern side of the nativity near a dry riverbed.






NOSESOn the night of 5th December Spanish and Catalan children don’t put a stocking out by the chimney, but instead they put out their shoes for the Three Kings to fill. And some hay and water for the camels, instead of milk and cookies for Santa.
Nadal & Sant Esteve (Christmas Day & Boxing Day)Dates: 25/26 Dec

The Catalan equivalent of the Christmas midnight mass is the missa del gall (cockerel’s mass), held at dawn. Later, the whole family enjoys a traditional Christmas feast of escudella i carn d’olla (a meaty stew), seafood and roast truffled turkey, finishing off with great ingots of turrón. The caga tió gives small gifts but the real booty doesn’t arrive until the night of 5 January.

Cap d’Any (New Year’s Eve)
Date 31 Dec & 1 Jan
"L' Home dels Nassos"
During the day of New Year’s Eve, look out for L’Home dels Nassos , a character in Catalan myths and legends. It is translated as "Man of the noses". The legend says that, on New Year's Eve, this man walks the streets and has as many noses on his face as there are days left in the year. In this way, children are led to believe that there is a man with 365 noses, but of course, being the last day of the year, the sly old fox conveniently and ironically has only one – he parades the streets and throws sweets to all the children he sees from early in the morning.

According to Saint Joan, the man of the noses seems to be a degeneration of a mythical character who symbolized the year. Originally having been represented by a tree ' the tree of the noses', in that stump the man of the noses lives on and to this day he clothes himself in the leaves of twelve different trees and with the four colours of Catalonia. On the other hand, the figuration of the roman god Janus, is a character with two faces in one, the one that looks towards the past and the one that looks towards the next year that starts in January, some think perhaps that the origin of the Man of Noses character is a variant of this tradition.
At night, bars and discos charge hoiked-up prices, but free public celebrations are held around the region. People have dinner with the family or friends. After dinner, at midnight everyone stops swilling cava and starts stuffing 12 grapes into their mouths, one for every chime of the bell. If you are able to eat the grapes during the strokes it means that you will have a lucky year. At the end of the strokes they drink a toast with Cava.
NEW YEARWear red underwear for good luck!
En fumera "Fumera"

He has got seven eyes, four on the face and three at the back. He goes into the house through the chimney. He informs the Three Kings about the behaviour of the children over the year.












TIOThe Tió de Nadal (roughly "Christmas Log"), also known as "Tió" (trunk or log, a big piece of cut wood) or "Tronca" ("log") and popularly called "Caga tió" (pooping log in English), is a character in Catalan mythology relating to a Christmas tradition widespread in Catalonia. A similar tradition exists in other places such as the cachafuòc or soc de Nadal in Occitania, or the Tizón de Nadal or Tronca de Nabidá in Aragon.



TIONThe form of the tió de Nadal found in many Catalan homes during the holiday season is a hollow log of about thirty centimetres length. Recently, the tió has come to stand up on two or four little stick legs with a broad smiling face painted on the higher of the two ends, enhanced by a little red sock hat (a miniature of the traditional Catalan barretina) and often a three-dimensional nose. Those accessories have been added only in recent times, altering the more traditional and rough natural appearance of a dead piece of wood. The Catalan word tió (log) is unrelated to the Spanish word tío.

Beginning with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), one gives the tió a little bit to "eat" every night and usually covers him with a little blanket so that he will not be cold at night.

On Christmas day or, depending on the particular household, on Christmas Eve, one puts the tió partly into the fireplace and orders it to "poop" (the fire part of this tradition is no longer as widespread as it once was, since many modern homes do not have a fireplace). To make him "poop", one beats him with sticks, while singing various songs of Tió de Nadal.

The tió does not drop large objects, as those are brought by the Three Wise Men. It does leave candies, nuts and torrons. Depending on the part of Catalonia, it may also give out dried figs. When nothing is left to "poop", it drops a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion or "urinates". What comes out of the tió is a communal rather than individual gift, shared by everyone present.

Beating the Tió de Nadal
In addition to the names listed in the opening paragraph, the additional nickname "Caga Tió" ("pooping log") derives from the many songs of Tió de Nadal that begin with this phrase, which was originally (in the context of the songs) an imperative ("Poop, log"). The use of this expression as a name is not believed to be part of the ancient tradition. The tradition of the tió could be related to that of the Christmas tree.

TIO LOGHere is a song of the "caga tió":

caga tió,                                    Pooping log,
caga torró,                               poop turrón
avellanes i mató                       hazelnuts and cheese,
si no cagues bé                       if you don't poop well,
et daré un cop de bastó.         I'll hit you with a stick.
caga tió!"                               Pooping log!
An alternate version goes something like this:
caga tió, Pooping log,
tió de Nadal,                         log of Christmas,
no caguis arengades,            don't poop herrings,
que són massa salades          which are too many salty,
caga torrons                         Poop turrón
que son més bons!"              which are much better!

After hitting it softly with a stick during the song it is hit harder on the words "caga tió!". Then somebody puts his hand under the blanket and takes a gift. The gift is opened and then the song begins again. There are many such songs: these are just examples.






Santa Bàrbara is an agricultural village that combines the harvesting of the olive tree with the farming of other crops requiring irrigated land. Every year during the third weekend of November there is a celebration that pays homage to all these local products, marked by the moment when traditionally the first olive oil comes out of the presses.

HARVESTINGKnown also as "La Plana de l'Oli" or "big sea of olive trees", Santa Bàrbara is a traditionally agricultural village, devoted mostly to the production of olive oil. The crop of the olive trees had its best period in the thirties of the previous century, when this crop occupied 92% of the cultivated area. After the Civil War, for different reasons it has reduced but it continues to be the most widespread crop in the area. However in the last few years, the farming of the olive tree has been complemented with the farming of irrigated land with the citrus family(oranges and tangerines), of other fruit trees, cereals and vineyards.

In 1997, the “Fira de l'oli novell, els cítrics i el comerç “, an event promoted by the town council to promote the town through olive oil began. With time, and with the transformation of the economic structure of the village the fair has developed to include all products and services that are made in the village area. In this way, the fair is a festival paying homage to the world of the countryman and the local trade.

OLIVE OILFor two days many events are held where you can learn more about olive oil. Including tastings of different types of oil from the cooperatives so that you can learn to appreciate the differences and pleasure in local recipes. The olive oil of Santa Bàrbara, unlike that of the Garrigues or the Siurana, which is made from olives from Arbeca, has a different quality, with a fruitier flavour. Demonstrations of how the lands were farmed long ago and special displays of machinery, ancient & modern tools, and a recipe competition for garlic mayonnaise (from 1997), etc. From 1998 under a marquee the Gastronomic Fair of Olive Oil was started where the restaurants of the village offer menus incorporating the oil and the local citrus fruits. Other cultural activities are included with exhibitions of local arts and crafts.







LOGOSITGES International Film Festival of Catalonia is the number one fantasy film festival in the world and represents, at the same time, the cultural expression with the most media impact in Catalonia. With a solid experience, the Sitges Festival is a stimulating universe of encounters, exhibitions, presentations and screenings of fantasy films from all over the world.

Born in 1968 as the 1st International Week of Fantasy and Horror Movies, today the Festival is an essential rendezvous for movie lovers and audiences eager to come into contact with new tendencies and technologies applied to film and the audiovisual world.
Sitges’ status as the number one fantasy film festival in the world allows it to receive visits from top-level movie stars, directors and producers
The Festival is governed by a Foundation, made up of representatives from the Sitges Town Council, the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalonia’s autonomous government) and other institutions, associations and public and private companies.

Most of its resources come from the sponsors, companies and collaborating institutions that consider their alliance to the Festival to be an excellent platform for widening their scope and branding.
Exhibition of solidarity to celebrate the 75th anniversary of King Kong
The fantasy film magazine Scifiworld will be organizing, with the collaboration of Planeta de Agostini and Norma Editorial publishing companies, a charity event to mark the 75th anniversary of King Kong that will be entitled "King Kong Solidario" (Supportive King Kong) and aimed at raising money for Médicos sin Fronteras (Spanish Doctors Without Borders). We will be able to enjoy the remastered copy of King Kong from 1933 and also the documentary produced by Peter Jackson shooting of the original movie RKO Production 601: The Making of ‘Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World’.
MIRRORSMirrors, by Alexandre Aja to open Sitges 08
French filmmaker Alexandre Aja will be kicking off the 41st edition of the Sitges – International Film Festival of Catalonia with the screening of his latest film, Mirrors, which will premiere in Spain with the title Reflejos.
The 41st edition will be dedicated to 2001: A Space Odyssey
The 41st edition, to be held from October 2nd to the 12th, will be dedicated to the 40th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Stanley Kubrick, and will be attended by, among others, actors Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea, special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull and Jan Harlan, executive producer and Kubrick’s assistant.

Tributes to science fiction treasures
The Festival will offer a reflective retrospective on the role of science fiction in the history of contemporary cinema, with outstanding movies like Planet of the Apes, Forbidden Planet, Logan’s Run, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, among others. For many movie goers it will be an excellent opportunity to see the best copies available of these films for the first time on the big screen. Sitges 08’s EUROPA IMAGINÀRIA will also revolve around the best European science fiction cinema with movies like Barbarella, Solaris and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Visit their web site for more information:






sept 11On 11 September Catalonia commemorates the defeat it suffered at the hands of the Spanish troops of Felipe V of Bourbon in 1714. Catalonia, which had been a sovereign nation up to that point, lost its national rights and liberties, with its own laws abolished and Catalan language and culture banned.

After many years of darkness, in 1932, under the II Spanish Republic, Catalonia acquired a Statute of Autonomy which recovered some of its national rights. However, after the Civil War, the Franco dictatorship brought with it the toughest repression that Catalonia had ever endured, to a point that could be described as attempted cultural genocide. Thousands and thousands of people suffered retaliation and many were shot. These even included the President of the Government of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, the only European president executed under Nazism-fascism.

In 1979 the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia was approved, giving the country its own institutions and government, but to date a satisfactory level of self-government has still not been attained.

national dayEvery 11 September, many Catalans continue to demonstrate in the streets to demand recognition of our national rights and liberties and a greater degree of self-government.

The Festival for National Rights and Liberties is organised as a political event of Catalan civil society, to celebrate the National Day in a festive way yet as a protest. lesanglesWe want to make this celebration a political event of affirmation and national demands, in an open and participatory way. For this reason, since the year 2000, around two hundred institutions from Catalan civil society have staged an event that includes an exhibition of these organisations, the reading of a manifesto that has the support of all the organisations involved and finally a music concert to round off the celebration.

paellaWe want to share this festive protest with all the people who live in Catalonia, whatever their place of origin. Only if we attain greater capacity to decide what we want our country to be like in the future can we construct a nation that is fair, caring, integrated and sustainable.
taken from





SANTA TECLA TARRAGONA 15TH-24TH SEPTEMBER 2009- Santa Tecla is a burst of joy, music and colour that courses through the city for ten straight days. It blends all the traditional elements of the Seguici Popular with an endless variety of dances, human castles, spark-throwing nighttime parades, mythological beasts, mediaeval treats and “spoken dances” (verse re-enactments of the struggle between good and evil)


Who is Santa Tecla?

During the year 48, in the city of Iconium, St. Paul preached in a friend's house. Opposite lived Tecla, daughter of Teoclia, who was from a young rich family and she was promised in marriage to Thamyris. However, she became ecstatic with the preaching of St. Paul and decided to follow him on his pilgrimage.
Teclas fiancee denounced St. Paul as a sorcerer and he was jailed.Faced with this situation, Tecla distributed her jewels among the poor and used them to bribe guards to secure the release of St. Paul. From this point, Santa Tecla and St. Paul travelled together and Christianised the world. On their travels, Sant Paul and Santa Tecla visited Tarragona and preached on many subjects.

Later when Santa Tecla followed her evangelical mission alone, she was persecuted by the enemies of the Christianity, jailed and suffered terrible torments but remained unscathed. The martyrdom of Santa Tecla includes, amongst others, the following torments: She was thrown into a pit with poisonous reptiles and survived; she was as tied between two oxen, to be torn about, but the oxen lost their strength; she was then placed on a pyre to be burnt alive, but the fire died away. Finally, she was sent to the Lions who licked her wounds and they healed. Defeated, her persecutors released her and she lived in a cave, as a hermit, dedicated to prayer until her old age. . Nevertheless, in a new aggression, soldiers were sent to find her. Santa Tecla prayed to get rid of the new tormentors and to remain pure. The cave collapsed leaving only Santa Teclas's arm. The followers of Santa Tecla retrieved the arm and took it to Armenia to give burial and worship, from there it was transferred to custody of the Cathedral in Tarragona and a plaque was dedicated to her memory.


Why is Santa Tecla the patron saint of Tarragona?

The first key reference in the Christian communities of the Camp de Tarragona dates from century III AD. In a document of an anonymous monk who gathered data on the introduction of the Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula wrote of the great devotion that the people of Tarragona had towards a "blessed Thecla virginity ", Also in 1117 Count Ramon Berenguer III conquered Tarragona and donated the land to the Church. Given the devotion towards Santa Tecla, in the area of Tarragona, they decided to name their patron, Santa Tecla, since she was the disciple of San Paul and visited the holy city. (Now historians consider it very unlikely that St. Paul visited the city)


Celebrating the festivities of Santa Tecla of Tarragona unavoidably involves linking the present times with history, and its heritage. Events over the centuries define the personality of the festivities which now consist of rock music, jazz, drama plays, music-hall, movies, parties, sport activities….. However, the essence of it still is the collection of dances, the bestiary(medieval book of beasts), the entremesos (interlude or short farce), the "spoken dances" and the "human castles". In 1091, the Pope Urban II restored, if only juridically, the metropolitan seat of Tarragona and declared the festivities of Santa Tecla, the main day of celebration of the year.

22 September is the date set for the singing of vespers at the Cathedral, which is the centre of the festivity, as well as the performance of dances by the guilds throughout the city, plus the Cercavila ("the big parade in the streets").



On 23 September, a religious service takes place, as well as the Procession of the Holy Arm, under a canopy, through the streets. Other festivites include:

CASTELThe Dance of Devils | The Dance of Serrallonga
The Mind of the Kettledrums | The Giants and the Dwarves
The Dance of Checkers and Old People | The Dance of the Àliga
The Dance of Cercolets | The Dance of Gypsies
The Dance of Sticks | The Mulassa de la Ciutat
Plus accompaniment of the castells (human towers), bands, musicians of every kind and fireworks.












Extracts taken from the article by Jordi Bertran i Luengo


Photos supplied by Rafael López-Monné
Imatge i Territori, les Coques 9,4r, 43003 Tarragona.Tel.: 977 244 070




Festa Major de Gràcia, Barcelona

1945 FESTA

Aug 15st - Aug 21st

Festa Major de Gràcia, Barcelona Aug 15st - Aug 21st 2009

On an average day, Gracia is a peaceful residentialy neighbourhood north of the city centre, with narrow streets lined with elegant old balconied buildings and shady squares with historic churches and cafe terraces.
But for one week in August, everything changes. When the week-long Festa Major takes over Gracia on August 15th, tranquillity goes out of the window, replaced by the Catalans' typically exuberant taste music and mass celebration in the streets.


HUMAN TOWERThe Gràcia Fest is basically a hyperbole of a block party - events and feasts are scheduled all throughout the day, live music persists every night until dawn, and outdoor bars and their patrons make it impossible to cross even the smallest square in under ten minutes. Every year, over a million people flood the narrow streets of Gràcia to gawk and to party until literally flushed out by street cleaners in the morning.

Dating back to the early 19th century, it has become one of Barcelona's biggest festivals, which is saying something for a city that can practically count the year's non-fiesta days on the fingers one hand. And it sees Gracia residents from 23 neighbouring streets competing for the prize for best-decorated street, by doing innovative things with plastic, cardboard, wood and any other materials they can lay their hands on, set around a different theme each year. CAR NIGHTTIME

Designs range from the beautiful to the surreal and in all cases are highly elaborate. You are advised to admire their artwork early on the 15th as from then on everything starts to deteriorate as the carnival atmosphere takes over.FLOWERS BIRD

The free event kicks off in Plaza Rius i Taulet, with a parade of giant carnival figures and And perhaps the most impressive spectacle of the entire festival is the performance of the Castellers, teams of Catalans who form human towers up to nine or ten people tall as a demonstration of cultural unity and strength. In short, there is certainly not a lack of things to do during the festival.

NIGHTThe surrounding streets are lined with tables and benches to accommodate the influx of a million visitors from throughout the city and abroad and on that first evening at 7pm there is a parade of characters from Catalan folklore.
To fuel the atmosphere, live bands take root in different spots around Gracia - prime positions are to be found in Plaza del Sol - to play as long and loudly as possible. Like any festival worth its salt, there are loads of food stalls and many local bars open onto the streets to provide endless liquid sustinence.

STARAbetting the sense of the fantastical, while wandering through these worlds, one runs the risk of stumbling into a magic show for toddlers conducted in Catalan, or the possibility of intruding on a parade thrown by local anarchists. During the day, tourists explore these streets with festival programs stuffed in their back pockets, and small children waddle under paper-mâché decorations as their parents chase them with cameras.

DISPLAYWhen night falls and the streets jam, toddlers are promoted to shoulder seating, and the scene takes on a decidedly more adult tenor. Crushes of people drink and dance, and when the bands stop playing, crowds congregate around impromptu musicians and refuse to go home until the Guardia Civil politely suggests otherwise. For those who live in Gràcia, it is understood that the week will be a sleepless one- restaurants and bars offer specials on mojitos and capirinhias, and even serve them directly out of windows so as to avoid the trouble of forcing people to abandon the street.


With the summer nights long and hot, the activity is guaranteed to go on well into the next morning. There are said to be 600 events this year throughout the week, including children´s games (don´t expect them to be going to bed anytime before 2am), cultural activities and dancing.


When you see devils running down the street and setting off fireworks you know the end is in site with the spectacular closing ceremony, the ´correfoc'.
and Gracia returns to its usual summer sleepiness.    

Getting there:

Nearest metro station is Fontana (L3)  in Barcelona.





Festival in Miravet 15 June 2008

The Cherry Festival in Miravet 14 June 2009

Festival in Miravet. Like the other years, you will be able to have a day of amusement while enjoying a popular paella and cherry cakes.



CHERRYIf you are interested in buying the tickets for the popular paella and the cakes, you will be able to find them from the tents and bars in the village. Or you can call at the offices of the Ajuntament between 10.00h and 14.00h Monday to Friday.
Telephone 977 407 134 or fax 977 407 455

The price of the tickets are from 8 euros
The cherry is the main and most important crop of Miravet, with some 314 varieties and a production of 40% of all Catalunya. More than 4 million kilos can be produced per year and are highly valued in the European markets. The largest part of what is produced is destined for France, German, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and England, leaving an insignificant amount for the home markets.

CHERRYThe lack of promotion of our own products is regrettable in a country like Catalonia. Look at the subject of the hazelnut from Tarragona... It is a variety only and exclusive to this zone, the sweetest and tastiest of all hazelnuts, and it is not really known here!

CHERRYFor this reason Miravet celebrates, on the third Sunday of June, the party of the cherry, where informative talks can be enjoyed, a sample “pomològica” with all the varieties, a giant frying pan of paella with snails, a competition of cherry cakes as well as a tasting of cherries and cherry liqueur, even a curious competition of the cherry stone.CHERRY





LOGOExpo 2008 is an international exposition planned to be held from 14 June to 14 September 2008 coordinated by the Bureau of International Expositions, the organization that is responsible for sanctioning World’s Fairs.

The 2008 expo will be held in Zaragoza, Spain, with the topic of “Water and sustainable development”. The event is being placed in a meander of the river Ebro.The exhibition’s most emblematic buildings will be the Water Tower, a 80-metre-high transparent building designed by Enrique de Teresa to evoke a drop of water, Zaha Hadid’s Bridge Pavilion and the river aquarium. EXPO

The exposition site will also host several espectacles, including a daily parade by Cirque du Soleil called The Awakening of the Serpent.

Aside from the countries, non-government organizations and private companies will be taking part in Expo 2008, always with the idea of water and sustainable development. The Expo 2008 host committee has estimated that this event could generate 135 million euros in receipts for admission to the exhibition centre.

Country pavilions
More than one hundred countries, plus dozens of companies and NGOs are expected to participate in Expo 2008.

EXPOCitizen’s initiative pavilion
This pavilion has the shape of a beacon, “a symbol of hope for the future of water in our world”. It will express the vitality of ordinary people and non-governmental organisations. The Beacon will be situated by the Bridge Pavilion entrance.
Expo 2008 will have a 93-day-long shows programme with more than 3,400 acts from more than 350 companies and artists.
EXPOOn the expo site, there will be three shows called Major events. They are:
This show will be the artistic part of the Opening Ceremony and it will be repeated each night. The Spanish director Calixto Bieito and the scenographer Alfons Flores are responsible for the set design while the music is by José Luis Romeo. About the show:
EXPOIt will be a poetic, beautiful, simple show but at the same time moving, ideally seen live but with a format and contents capable of being televised or transmitted by internet in real time.
The central element of the show is a huge iceberg with a minute human figure standing before it (designed by the catalan company FOCUS)- mankind being both the main cause of climate change and its first victim. A dialogue of images and conflicts is established between the iceberg, the man and the Ebro that will guide us along a route mined by the wrongs that cause climate change and that will eventually lead us to the entreaty of a message of hope.
It is a bid for a future where the decisiveness and will of mankind may create a new balanced relationship with nature
Zaragoza Pyrotechnics will provide the fireworks for the Night Show of Expo Zaragoza 2008 on the opening night.

• El hombre vertiente
This show is created by the Argentinean Pichón Baldinu. It will be repeated six times throughout the day on the thematic square Water inspirations. The public will experience extreme emotions.
•The awakening of the serpent
The parade will be one of the great moments of the day. “The Awakening of the Serpent” will make its way every day. Its creative director is Jean François Brouchard while its artistic director is Julien Gabriel. The parade will also have water as its main theme. Cirque du Soleil will participate with acrobats, actors, gymnasts, singers and musicians.
EXPOThe Expo 2008 mascot is Fluvi, a little male drop of water.
With his best friend Ica, the smallest drop of water, and Nico and Laurita, he will fight against the pollution made by Sec and Raspa, the evil Negas.
After the Expo
The exposition site and its facilities have been planned thinking of their usage after the Expo finishes in September 2008 as a new extension of the city. Some of the buildings will be rented or transferred to several institutions. This way, the Aragon Pavilion will be converted into the head office of a regional ministry, while the landmark buildings of the Expo, the Water Tower and the Bridge Pavilion, are expected to be purchased by local financial institutions.
EXPOThe international pavilions will be remodelled and converted into offices so that the site becomes the main business park in Zaragoza. This space will also have establishments for leisure and restaurants.
A great part of the site may be used for shopping establishments and for the construction of a science park for businesses.
- Adult price during Expo period (14 June 2008 to 14 September 2008):
1 day ticket (T1): 35 €
3 day ticket (T3) 70 €
Visit the web sites below for more information:
The AVE train from Tarragona takes 1 hour or 30 minutes from Lleida:
By car take the A2 from Tarragona to Zaragoza



Igualada European Balloon Festival 2nd-6th July 2008

Igualada European Balloon Festival 8th-12th July 2009

EUROPEAN BALLOON FESTIVAL - IGUALADA dias 8, 9, 10 i 11 de Julio de 2010
Every year in Catalunya in the town of Igualada, 40 or more hot air balloons from around the world take to the sky during the biggest balloon festival in Spain, and one of the largest in Europe. Around 25,000 spectators come to watch, fascinated as the balloons inflate and eventually fill the sky with an array of colours. The activities don't stop there - market stalls and the opportunity to try some local cuisine plus ballon flights, music and then finally fireworks

BALOONEvery year in Catalunya in the town of Igualada, 40 or more hot air balloons from around the world take to the sky during the biggest balloon festival in Spain, and one of the largest in Europe. Around 25,000 spectators come to watch, fascinated as the balloons inflate and eventually fill the sky with an array of colours. The activities don't stop there - market stalls and the opportunity to try some local cuisine plus ballon flights, music and fireworks complete the programme.



BALOONThe following report comes from last years event by
This year’s Igualada European Balloon Festival, held between the 12th and 15th of July, attracted a record number of entries with pilots from all over the world taking part. Many had travelled long distances to enjoy this special event. The event was a resounding success due to the combination of the hard work of the organisers combined with near perfect weather conditions, thus enabling a 100% flight success record with all 7 flights taking place.

Morning conditions were also ideal for airship flying with DANIEL STUBER from Germany flying his airship and FERNANDO GARCIA ROLDAN from Spain flying the Coca Cola airship.

BALOONThe event started on the Wednesday evening with a welcome reception given by the town dignitaries for all of the pilots and crew. This was held in the spectacular newly renovated and extended Town Hall in the centre of Igualada. Well over 60 pilots attended the meeting coming from most European countries, the USA as well as the home region of Catalonia and the other regions across the whole of Spain.

The event now has a track record for attracting a large amount of media interest and this year was no exception. The press morning flight, which opened the flying on Thursday morning, had superb coverage with most national and local TV companies present, as well as gaining lots of national and local newspaper coverage.

BALLONWeather conditions were ideal for competition for the Thursday morning flight with a Hare and Hounds and Judge Declared Goal both leading from the town centre launch site to the aerodrome where Ultramagic is based. Many balloons reached the targets and were able to land conveniently close to the Ultramagic factory where refuelling later took place.

The Thursday evening flight, whilst being brisker than the gentle morning flight, attracted many pilots to take part in adventurous flights towards the mountains. All balloons landed safely with many of the regular attendees of the meeting having enjoyed a new experience of evening flight conditions due to following the lead of the locally piloted hare balloon.

BALOONFriday’s weather conditions were very similar to those on Thursday, with gentle, easy competition conditions in the morning and more challenging conditions in the evening. Views on the morning flight were breathtaking through the broken cloud towards the mountains.

Saturday’s conditions again followed true to form with light wind flying conditions in the morning encouraging good competition in the event.
A traditional Paella meal accompanied by live music was held on Saturday afternoon. This was held outside the Ultramagic factory alongside the runway with additional entertainment given by flypasts from local fixed wing and glider pilots!


BALOONThis was later followed by a fast Saturday evening flight which was enjoyable but quite short due to windier conditions and the need to be back for the night glow.
The European Balloon festival has an enviable record of 100% success with the night glow and this year was to be no exception. Conditions were perfect and the 20,000 plus public who attended were enthralled by the superb orchestrated glow followed by a spectacular fireworks display. This spectacle even excelled previous year’s displays. After this the party then continued into the early hours of the morning with an outdoor concert with live bands.

The meeting ended after flying yet again in perfect conditions on the Sunday morning followed by a prize giving brunch with all of the pilots and organisers in attendance.

BALOONMFirst place in the overall competition went to IVÁN AYALA (Balloon Pavial) from the Rioja region of Spain. Second place went to JOHN RUSSON (Balloon Mondial) from the UK. JOSEBA GARCIA (Balloon BBVA) from the Basc Country took third place.
The “Star” system of prizes was again awarded throughout the competition, which resulted in the presentation of large cash prizes to pilots or syndicates of pilots with 5 stars.

Friendship, combined with good flying as always is the theme of the European festival. It continues to attract a growing following of pilots wishing to take part in a fun yet competitive event where everyone gets to know each other. The event was concluded by the organisers thanking all those in attendance for their efforts to make the festival such a great team event. Plans are already under way for next year’s festival, hoping that the track of good weather continues into the future.

Photos supplied by &
The schedule of events for this year were not available before going to print but check out the above web sites for updates.
The town is located about 50km (31 miles) inland from Barcelona on the road towards Cevera and Lleida (Autovía Nacional II). CLICK HERE FOR THE MAP




FIREWORKS19th International Fireworks Display Competition in
“Ciutat de Tarragona”
7TH t0 12TH JULY

The 21th International Fireworks Competition Ciutat de Tarragona will take place from the 6th to the 10th July at the Punta del Miracle of Tarragona at 22.30 each night:
You can find informations about the fireworks display competition and the participating companies in the Latest Competition News on

20th International Fireworks Display Competition in
“Ciutat de Tarragona” 7TH t0 11TH JULY 2009 22.30 at Miracle Beach.

The most important fireworks contest in the Mediterranean area is held every first week of July in Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain, in a wonderful bay -Punta del Miracle-, a place praised by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The selector board, formed by people appointed by the City Council of Tarragona, selects six international pyrotechnic companies every year. Then the order of shooting is decided through a draw. The fireworks are both aerial and aquatic.
FIREWORKSThe jury is usually formed by sixteen international members chaired by the Lord Mayor. The jury mainly takes into account the occupation of the air space; purity, intensity, brightness and duration of the colours; the chromatic variety, luminosity, dimensions, form designs, elegance, diversity of effects, sonority, conjunction with the environment, originality, rhythm, the plan of the performance, the starting, the final crescendo and acceptance by the public.
FIREWORKSSince 1990 very important companies from all over the world have fired in the Tarragona Contest: Ricardo Caballer, Vicente Caballer and Turís from Valencia; Pirogestión and Igual from Catalonia; Astondoa from Basque country; Francesco Pagano, Martarello, La Rosa Lorenzo and Orzella from Italy; Lidu and China Panda from China; Marutamaya and Tamaya from Japan; Gamma P from Germany; and Foti from Australia.FIREWORKS
Daily sixty thousand people see every display, and a lot of pyrotechnicians come to Tarragona to buy new products. The winner gets the first prize and also fires the fireworks display at the Santa Tecla Festival, one of the most important Spanish traditional festivals, between 15th and 24th September. It has been celebrated since 1321 and it has been considered of national touristic interest by the Spanish government. Every day during the competition new pictures of the firing areas and reports of the shows are published on the web site below: - To see the pictures and reports of the shows just click on the link Latest Competition News. A few days after the competition the first video sequences will be published on the website.


FIREWORKSIn 2008 the following fireworks companies take part at the 19th International Fireworks Display Competition in Tarragona:
8th of July 2008 SPAIN (Valencia) ZAMORANO CABALLER
11th of July 2008 ITALY A.P.E. DI PARENTE
12th of July 2008 SPAIN (Bask) ASTONDOA PIROTEKNIA
SITUATION: Punta del Miracle, Tarragona at 22.30 (end of the Rambla overlooking the sea)





You can find information about the fireworks display competition and the participating companies in the Latest Competition News links: &
The source of the photographs via Markus Klatt and









LA MÓRA MORISCA A MÓRA D’EBRE 12 i 13 / 07 / 2008

LA MÓRA MORISCA A MÓRA D’EBRE 10-11th July 2010 is a historical fair with its own identity. It is a mixture of cultures, religions and in short an example of historical communal life. In the 15th century in Móra there lived 34 Jewish families, 51 Saracens and 130 Christians- taken from the census ordered by the church, mosque and synagogue.


CHERRYMora Castell 1915

More information: Ajuntament de Móra d'Ebre - Tel: 977-40-00-12

MORALA MÓRA MORISCA A MÓRA D’EBRE is a historical fair with its own identity. It is a mixture of cultures, religions and in short an example of historical communal life. In the 15th century in Móra there lived 34 Jewish families, 51 Saracens and 130 Christians- taken from the census ordered by the church, mosque and synagogue.



MORA The smells and the perfumes will introduce you to the traditional ambience of the Jewish, Christian & Moorish neighbourhoods. Between VII and XI centuries the Muslims occupied the Ebre Valley, which provoked a very important increase of agricultural development: vegetables, fruit trees, vineyards and olive trees.
During this festival, Móra D'ebre, relives its past proudly under the Arab domination, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together.

All the population of the town transforms and adorn themselves to offer, a window to the Arab culture, a door to the gastronomy, a window to the shows, to the music, to the dances and to the theatre, just like a window back in history.

MORAThe Party starts on Friday with a succulent Moorish dinner in the castle (it is necessary to contact the Town Council 977400012 to reserve tickets), with jesters and a Moorish show, where dishes of Arab gastronomy will be served.

During Saturday and Sunday, the streets and squares of the ancient centre of Móra D'ebre, will become the natural stage full of historical demonstrations.




CHERRYIn the Market Place, artisans will make us relive ancient professions and ways of work: the smith, the ceramist, the basket maker, the spinner, the weaver, the baker, the saddler, the stonemason and many others will demonstrate their profession and bring it to life

Schedule of events:


Friday 11 July:
Medieval dinner combining the three cultures with music, entertainment, fire and medieval shows


Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July:
All day long. Entry: Free
-Demonstrations and exhibitions: antiques, craft activities, antique arts and medieval professions: Illumination of parchments, Smiths, Spinners, Basket Makers, Ceramists, Shoemakers, Saddlers...


-Mediaeval market of home-made products: natural cheeses, heraldic shields, wooden toys, mythology, floors and medicine herbs, works of leather, pottery, crystal, candies, natural soaps, enamels, icons, fig loaf, perfumes, silver engraving, bread and cakes, games, honey, nougats and chocolate, goldsmiths...
-A Falconry Exhibition and demonstration with the presence of several species: Harris, shielded eagle, royal owl, pilgrim hawk, sacral hawk, wool hawk owl of Bengala, pilgrim hawk/girfalc, kestrel, owl capensis, African owl.
Shows : trapeze & puppets
-Itinerant shows, parodies, characters of markets, ...
-Spectacular theatrical representations with fire, light and colour.
-Medieval demonstrations

-Tournament games

-Giant live Chess games

-Historical recreations

-Theatrical representation in the castle by the theatrical group of Móra D' Ebre

-Traditional dances performed by the children of the School of Santa Teresa, Móra D'ebre

The shows that are set in this historical period will invade the streets and
squares right through into the night.




Festa del Renaixement
Del 24 al 27 Juliol de 2008

Festa del Renaixement Tortosa Del 23 al 26 Juliol de 2009

15th Festa del Renaixement Tortosa Del 22 al 25 Juliol de 2010 The walls of the town's oldest districts are the chosen venue for Tortosa's Renaissance Festival, the festival takes us back through a whole host of entertaining and cultural activities to the 16th century. Over 500 actors, 60 shows, 3000 people dressed in traditional costume , merchants and taverns fill the town's streets and squares with festivities, music, joy and colour

LA FESTA DEL RENAIXEMENT The Splendour of a 16th Century Town TORTOSA.


Over 500 actors, 60 shows, 3000 townspeople dressed in traditional costume , merchants and taverns fill the town's streets and squares with festivities, music, joy and colour.

The walls of the town's oldest districts are the chosen venue for Tortosa's Renaissance Festival, held during the last two weeks of July. Subtitled The Splendour of a 16th Century Town, the festival takes us back through a whole host of entertaining and cultural activities to the 16th century, one of the most interesting times in our town's long history.



Tortosa is right in the heart of an extensive region and shows its pride, vibrancy and everyday hustle and bustle through the revival of the old town government, trade, customs, gallantry, gastronomy and the festival's most diverse activities. The banners of the town guards who patrol the streets bearing the regional flag of Tortosa, take us back in time to the splendour of a 16th century town. A town with a history marked by its links to the Mediterranean Sea down the nearby Ebro river. A multicultural town open to the world through water.
Splendour shines brightly in the narrow, winding streets of the town's historical centre, showing all its magnificence in the Show of Arms and Parade, in honour of the flags of the Tortosa region and town. The town council, the defence militias, representatives from the town's districts and trades, merchants and traders, the townspeople of Tortosa as well as comedians and actors from all around take part in this parade.


The Renaissance Festival was first held in 1996. The idea behind the festival sprang from a project that was being carried out by Baix Ebre Regional Council. In an effort to design a coat of arms to appropriately represent our region, historical researchers found a small notebook dating back to 1544, which described and named the defence forces of the town of Tortosa in the times of King Charles V. A thorough description of the confraries, or confraternities, with their colours, the names of distinguished captains and towns in the region evoked the image of a powerful, organised town that was proud of its symbols.


TORTOSAExperiences in other towns clearly showed that recovering the past with entertaining activities had enabled tourism and the economy to develop. The rich and descriptive historical information provided in that document and the certainty that many other similar writings had also survived, gave birth to a project known today as the Renaissance Festival. The 16th century was regarded as a very important time in our history. The architectural complex of the Reials Col·legis and the literary work of Cristòfor Despuig bear witness to this. TORTOSA

The schedule of the events can be found BY CLICKING HERE or visit for more information





The Festival Tarraco Viva 2009- the roman festival, which this year reaches its XI edition, will take place from 18 to 31 May 2009 in Tarragona.

tarraco15 to 25 May 2008

Find out more about the Roman influence in Spain at Tarraco Viva, the annual ‘Romans brought to life’ event in the Catalan city of Tarragona. More than a just a 10-day toga party, Tarraco Viva aims to raise awareness to the city’s Roman history and culture through discussions and workshops at the International Roman Historical Conference. Throughout the event there are processions and re-enactments of daily Roman life, gladiatorial contests and authentic presentations of Roman theatre and music. Even the local restaurants join in, by resurrecting Roman recipes. In and around the centre of Tarragona are the remains of monuments that have survived from the time when Tarraco was the most important Roman city of the Iberian Peninsula. Some of the events are held in the Roman amphitheatre but much of the action takes place in a purpose-built auditorium:auditorium
Camp de Mart auditorium and various venues (Venue). North side of Old Town, outside castle wall. Also Anfiteatro Romano, Circ Roma and Foro Romano

tarraco viva
The principal attraction this year is a macro-sized gladiatorial games, with the depiction of a ceremony in Apollo’s honour. And, of course, LEGIO PRIMA GERMANICA re-enactment in the statium, plus the horses of cursus publicus (a kind of pony express postal service).




roman fight roman fights roman guards
The Festival Tarraco Viva 2008, which this year reaches its X edition, will take place from 15 to 25 May in Tarragona.
The first weekend (from 15 to 18) will be devoted to productions tarraconenses own groups and the second weekend (23.24 and 25) the Festival takes its international character with the participation of groups from the rest of Spain and the European groups, the Fair Rome in the World of Museums, writing workshops, arqueogastronomia, music of ancient Rome.
A preliminary program of the event is on their web site:






trapeziTrapezi The Festival Tarraco Viva 2009, which this year reaches its X edition, will take place from 13 to 17 May 2009 in Tarragona & 12 to 16 May 2010
More information can be found on the official web site:


In the year 1997, TRAPEZI was born in Reus as the first and only circus Festival in Spain. The celebration was not based on dangerous or breath taking acts but on an aesthetical global concept and the artistic quality of the performance itself. Only few years later, the proposal has already produced an important result: the warm presence of the audience, who looks forward to this date year after year.acrobats

In May 1997, TRAPEZI was born with a show created by the French company Les Arts Sauts. An aerial ballet based on aesthetics, technique and humour hanging 21 metres above the heads of the audience. The central square of Reus, plaça del Mercadal, was packed with an audience who will never forget that moment.


The journalist and circus critic Jordi Jané wrote an article in the Catalan newspaper Avui headed by: “Trapezi 97: a star is born”. The follow-up and further consequences are a proof of it. New artists, professional shows being scheduled in theatre venues in Barcelona, the presence of big circus companies with an amazing media response, etc. All of it, with the support of a very accurate programme, has guaranteed and launched this Festival all over the world. Only a few years later after that first starting shot, Reus is ready once more to welcome one of the essential cultural events in town.circus ball clowns
More information can be found on the official web site:




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