The Roussillon is a French region which takes up nearly all of the department of the Pyrénées-Orientales, a superb French department lying at the corner alongside the Mediterranean and Spain.
It has a mild climate and is an enchanting region thanks to its natural generosity, heritage, and unique culture.
The local character and the mindset have been shaped by the history and geography of the region, and people here are deeply attached to their Catalan and Pyrenean identity.
The Catalan flag
The traditional Catalan flag is commonly known as la senyera and is composed of four horizontal red bands on a yellow background, representing blood and gold. The origin of the flag is legendary (it is said to show the 4 bloody fingers on Wilfred the Hairy’s shield) and dates back to the 9th century. It is based on the coats of arms of the Counts of Barcelona
It has been in official use since 1979. It must be shown by law on all public buildings and during all official acts performed in Catalonia.
The feast of Saint John's
St John's Eve (23 June) is associated with fire and pays homage to the sun. It is traditional to light bonfires and use various forms of pyrotechnical equipment, and to make ‘Falles’ (satirical statues made out of paper or bare tree trunks).
The Festa Major
This is a very popular event in celebration of the patron saint of the town concerned. The festivities tend to last several days and include such things as concerts, plays, street performances, chocolatades, public barbecues (costellades, boutifarrades, cargolades, etc.), cercavila (processions), castells (human towers), correfocs (street fireworks), and so on.
The Festa Major of the village takes place on 15 August and is based on Catalan culture, with a great firework display to round the day off. Les Angles is a place where modern life and popular tradition meet, and where the Catalan identity is very much part of everyday life. The language, customs, traditions, and mentality have been fashioned by those of southern Catalonia and still resemble them today – something which is true throughout the department. The local inhabitants and holidaymakers all share a memorable experience together.
The programme includes a traditional market, a concert of Catalan songs, Sardana music, and folklore dances to the sounds of a cobla (a traditional ensemble), a ball, castellers (human pyramids), “matinades” in the streets (an early morning procession of drum and gralla players), and the 15 August petanque competition. The Procession of the Assumption is followed by mass with the cobla, who also perform at the “ball d'ofici” held on the square in front of the Town Hall. The festivities are rounded off with a fireworks display.
The warmth of the language, the unique sound of the local music, the dazzling yet harmonious colours of the traditional costumes, and the wonderful smell of local food interact with the tranquillity of the ancient forests, the bells of the herds grazing in the pastures, the pure meadow-scented air, and the warm light of this idyllic spot. The Festa Major is a living open-air museum set amidst the delightful Romanesque and Baroque village buildings that are so typical of the area, and you will be surprised to encounter a parade of giants or a procession that seems to emerge straight from the distant past. Perhaps you will allow yourself to be tempted by the delicious smell of a chocolatade or else a wonderful ouillade, unless it is the delicate aroma of the hams that attracts your attention.
That is what the Catalan mountains are all about. They are an enchanting place where tradition and culture sit comfortably alongside the modernity of our mountain resort which is open throughout the seasons.