Recently Fairs have proliferated in Andorra almost as fast as decorative roundabouts! Originally Andorra’s Christmas Fairs revolved around 13th December, Saint Lucy Day. It was then that you went to the Santa Llúcia Market to buy all the things needed for the Festive season: little clay figurines, bridges, camels and a stable to create a nativity scene, candles and decorations, dried fruits and even live geese to drive back home and fatten up for Christmas, or for Three Kings on 6th January. (I remember vividly one comical ink drawing of a new owner chasing his escaping purchases down a muddy lane!) To this day small Santa Llúcia Fairs are held around Andorra. For instance this Saturday in the lobby of La Massana’s Les Fontetes.
In 1988, St Georges’ English-speaking Church in Andorra started an indoor Christmas Charity Fair. Held at the end of November and run by the international community, it raises money for local charities and people in need. A grand raffle, brilliantly decorated stalls of gifts, handcrafted presents, homemade produce such as mince pies and jams, second-hand books and brand new clothes donated by generous, well known, High Street brands, help raise large sums of money.
For the past nine years, La Massana has hosted an outdoor market in its main Plaça de les Fontetes. A tiny ice rink in the centre is surrounded by rustic wooden huts where local shops sell everything from Christmas decorations to Andorran wines. Performances by folk and line dancers and local choirs liven up the festivities.
This year however you’ll find the big event is in the capital which has been transformed into the Poblet de Nadal or Christmas Village. The central Plaça del Poble contains a large Christmas Market and Artists’ Market where not only are there gaily decorated little huts selling Christmas Fare but an exhibition area for local artists offering their work as unique Christmas gifts. In the nearby Plaça Guillemó there’s an ‘Enchanted Wood’ where real Christmas trees are on sale, and where children’s shows take place. Throughout the streets are itinerant entertainments with mapping at #26 in the main shopping area Av. Meritxell. Finally, down at the bridge over the Gran Valira River is the Plaça de la Rotonda where all sorts spectacular events are taking place.
PICK OF THIS WEEK’S CULTURAL EVENTS
WEDNESDAY at 9pm in the Teatre de Les Fontetes, La Massana Albert Flores (piano) and Joan Berlanger (reading) will present Llach Poeta (text and music by Lluís Llach.)
FRIDAY at 6pm and 8pm in the Plaça Coprínceps, Escaldes-Engordany (Free) Gospel Concert. As the Christmas season approaches the Comú of Escaldes-Engordany has organized a Gospel concert to coincide with the tour of the ‘Gospel Greats’. This year you can enjoy a double session in the open air at the foot of the Christmas Tree in the Plaça Coprínceps.
FRIDAY at 7pm in the Plaça del Poble, Andorra la Vella (Free) A Concert of Blues and Christmas with the Shuffle Express. Pablo Villar: (vocals and guitar); Virginia Yañez: (keyboard and vocals); Marc Milian: (double bass and sound) and Dante Falótico: (drums).
MUSIC AND DANCE AT THE MARKETS
ANDORRA LA VELLA’s CHRISTMAS MARKET: In the Plaça del Poble any of thirteen choirs, 10 local modern and jazz groups and pupils from the school of Music of Andorra La Vella will be livening up the square with a wide rang of Christmas music. On FRIDAY and SATURDAY from 6pm – 8pm, and on SUNDAY from 5.30pm – 7pm. Also check out the online link above for scheduled street music.
LA MASSANA’s CHRISTMAS MARKET: In the Plaça de les Fontetes. THURSDAY at 12.30pm Demonstration of Line Dancing by the International Club’s Line dance group. THURSDAY and FRIDAY at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm Gospel music by White Heaven. SATURDAY at 12.30pm Workshop of traditional dances with L’Esbart Dansaire Valls del Nord. At 6pm in the Tourist Office of the Plaça de Les Fontetes, Christmas carols with the La Massana choirs of Sant Antoni and Les Orenetes. SUNDAY Performance by the Grossband of La Massana
ORDINO CHRISTMAS MARKET
THURSDAY: 11.30 Musical performance by the choir of the Little Stars Academy. 12md Musical performance by the Artistic Group of Ordino. SATURDAY 12md Carol singing with the Casamanya choir. 5pm Concert with the Music School of Valls del Nord.
ENCAMP CHRISTMAS MARKET
SATURDAY at 12md Rock Concert by the school choir, Cor de Rock d’Encamp
CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERTS
SATURDAY at 6pm in Santa Maria del Fener Church, Andorra la Vella, (Free) Christmas Concert 2016 with the Cor Internacional d’Andorra. A very international Christmas concert with classical music by Gounod (Chantons Noël) and Handel (Joy to the World), modern gospel and rock music (Jingle Bell Rock and Happy Christmas, War is Over) plus popular Christmas carols in Catalan, English and Spanish. The concert will end with everyone singing Silent Night by candlelight.
SATURDAY at 8pm in Sant Pere Màrtir Church, Escaldes-Engordany. (Free) Concert de Santa Llúcia by the Parish Choir of Escaldes-Engordany.
SUNDAY at 1pm at the La Massana parish church of Sant Iscle and Santa Victòria. Concert of Christmas Carols by the choirs of Sant Antoni and Les Orenetes of La Massana.
SATURDAY at 5pm in the Sala de Festes, of the Sports Complex, Encamp. (3€ for children aged 3 – 16 and 5€ for those 17 years and upwards. Tickets from Morabanc. La Bella Dorment (Sleeping Beauty): a musical. A Catalan adaptation of Charles Perrault’s well known and much loved story with music arranged by Manu Guix and the whole produced by Dreams Theatre. Whilst sticking to the main plot there are new original songs with highly visual staging and a large dose of humour. In addition, during the show, the characters seek moments of complicity with the audience, and bring them into the story.
SUNDAY from 12md – 1pm in the Sala de La Closetta, Comú of La Massana (Free) A Traditional English Pantomime put on by the English-speaking community! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – starring all the usual suspects, and of course with lots of audience participation! Do come and support the many children – and adults – who have worked so hard over the past months to make this panto a success. Please reserve your seats with [email protected]
I’ll be with you again next week.
If you want to learn more in depth about Andorra try reading “Andorra Revealed”.