FIESTAS/FESTES/FESTIVALS/FAIRS

Encamisada falsetWINTER
December/January/February

The year comences with the l'Encamisada in Falset. It takes place during the weekend closest to St. Anthony's Day (17th January). It is based on historical events whichdate back to the 18th century when Catalonia was in conflict with France (Guerra del Francès). The local folk took the French by surprise one misty night by slipping by unseen in their white shirtsleeves (hence the name "enCAMISAda" which alludes to shirts). Before the French had time to react, they had stormed the castle and taken the village. Nowadays, it is a popular festival and takes place twice during the weekend: once on the Saturday night in the dark and then on Sunday morning. It mainly consists in a pretty parade of carts and horses all decorated with paper flowers and vines with the people wearing local Catalan dress. The procession ends at the church for mass and the benediction of the animals. In January, some villages also celebrate St. Sebastian's Day. ( St.Sebastià) .On the last Sunday of JanuarySant Blai Falset, the people from Gratallops climb the hill to the Hermitage of Our Lady of Consolation. In El Masroig, they hold a public raffle and dance the typical loca dance called "Jota". On 18th January, La Vilella Alta celebrates the feast day of their patron saint, Santa Prisca. February is St. Blai and in Falset it includes the raffling of an extended typical cake called "coca" near the shrine to this saint.. At this time in Cabacés people make typical pastries for St. Blai day. Februray is also carnaval time and in many villages of the region you can see the children dressed up, playing in the squares and streets. In Porrera during the same month they celebrate the "Rotllo" on 2nd Februray - a typical pastry from this village.

SPRING
March/April/May

During the weekend closest to March, Ulldemolins celebrates its famous Festival of the Omelette in its own Sauce (Festa de la Truita amb Suc). This is a local Priorat dish made of eggs, spinach, white beans and salt cod. During the fesFesta Truita amb suctivities, a competition is held for the most tasty and best decorated omelette. April is a quiet month, Cabacés holds a festival at their local hermitage, Falset hosts the Springtime concert with the local band and choir and El Molar celebrates their Cultural Week with conferences, theatre shows and exhibitions. May sees the famous Priorat Wine Fair (Fira del Vi de les D.O.s de la Comarca del Priorat) held in the capital town of the Priorat, Falset. Many wineries from the two wine appellations take paFira del Virt with stands in the street and also in indoor, professional tastings and other events over this long bank holiday weekend. Really one of the highlights of the Priorat wine calendar. Another important event this month is the Jubileu which takes place in the small hamlet of Siurana. Local people make a pilgrimage to the church of Our Lady of Water to pray for rain for a healthy harvest on 9th May. Torroja hosts the prestigious Jocs Florals (Literary comepettion) in May with prizes for the best prose, historical research and also poetry.
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SUMMER
June/July/August

As the weather improves, the number of outdoor events and festivals seem to double. The first weekend of June (around 3rd) Cornudella de Montsant plays host to a Craft Fair with an open air exhibition of the best Rice with Rabbit dishes (Diada de l'Arròs amb Conill i dels cargols dolços i picants). They also serve spicy, sweet snails! The 23rd June is St. Joan - a Catalan festival where every village makes a big bonfire and set off fireworks to celebrate the Summer solstice. This festival is particularly celebrated in Scala Dei and La Morera de Montsant. July and August are the "Fiesta Major" months. Every village has a big annual festival or party with orchestras and dancing amongst other events. Pradell, La Vilella Alta and La Vilella Baixa celebrate theirs in July whereas Albarca, Cornudella, Falset, La Figuera, Gratallops, Els Guiamets, El Lloar, Marçà, El Masroig, Poboleda, Siurana, La Torre de Fontaubella and Ulldemolins celebrate theirs in August. La Bisbal de Falset also organises a picnic and religious service at the Cave of Sta Llúcia (equivalent of their hermitage) on the second Sunday of August, as too does Margalef at their Sant Salvador hermitage. La Vilella Alta also organises a day of dancing "Sardanes" the Catalan traditional dance in August.

AUTUMN
September/October/November

Festa de la Verema a l'AntigaSeptember and the grape harvest is usually about to start. La Bisbal de Falset celebrates its Festa Major on 8th September. 11th September is Catalan National Day and Capçanes organises the "Festa Institucional" to commemorate their local hero, Carrasclet and his importance to Catalan history. Another gastronomic festival takes place on the same day in Cornudella with a giant paella and dancing in the evening. The following villages also celebrate another "Festa Major" for one of their patron saints: Falset (Festa Major de Santa Càndia), Margalef, Pradell, Scala Dei, Torroja and Ulldemolins. One of the most emblematic festivals of this time of year is the Old Style Wine Harvest Festival Festa de la Verema in Poboleda on the weekend nearest to the 15th September. The day starts early at around 7am when villagers and visitors go out to the vineyards to harvest grapes using old fashioned methods in local dress. From 11am onwards the historic houses of the village open up their basements to the Priorat wineries where they offer a tasting of their best wines. Not to be missed. The day continues with a popular paella and more wine......As the nights start to draw in and the temperatures start to drop, some villages organise a "castanyada" towards the end of October. Scala Dei and La Morera de Montsant roast chestnuts and sweet potatoes and make local Catalan delicacies such as "panellets" (sweet pastries made with almonds, pine nuts, sugar and eggs). On the Sunday nearest to 7th October, Ulldemolins celebrates El Roser with traditional dancing (Jotes) and a religious service. Towards the end of November, Falset organises a craft fair for St. Andrew's Day and La Figuera and Porrera celebrate their "Fiestas Majors". December is another month for winter "Festes Majors" and Bellmunt del Priorat celebrates La Badejada during their Festa Major which is based around the preparation of salt cod (prepared in this case by the menfolk of the village).

IMPORTANT FESTIVALS IN THE PRIORAT

grapes

JANUARY

L'Encamisada (Falset)

MARCH
Festival of the Omelette in its own sauce (Ulldemolins)

MAY
Priorat Wine Fair (Falset, Gratallops)

JUNE
Festival of Rice and Rabbit (Cornudella de Montsant)

SEPTEMBER
Old Fashioned Wine Harvest Festival (Poboleda)


DECEMBER
La Badejada (Bellmunt del Priorat)



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