BEWARE: probable temporary street closures on Sunday 5th January for the Three Kings’ Parades throughout Andorra.
- Monday, 30th December at 21.30h at the Hotel Màgic, La Massana. (Free) Vibrand concert in Clau de Soul. Every Monday you have an appointment with the best live music. Start the week enjoying the ‘Magic Mondays’ and the best atmosphere! The band will play the songs you like most by artists such as Sting, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Bruno Mars, among many others, and in an unusual way. Come and dance while we sing funk, soul, reggae, swing and jazz.
- Tuesday, 31st December starting at around 23.30h at the cafè-teatreLa Fada ignorant, Andorra la Vella.New Years Party.
- Wednesday, 1st January, 2020 at 19h at the National Auditorium of Andorra, Ordino.New Year’s Concert(Tickets:35€. SOLD OUT)
- Thursday, 2nd January at 20.30h at the Hotel Piolets Centre Soldeu, Canillo. (Free) Vibrand Concert in Clau de Soul. Every Thursday you can enjoy live music and the best atmosphere in Soldeu! The band will play the songs you like most from artists such as Sting, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Bruno Mars in an unusual way. Come and dance while we sing funk, soul, reggae, swing and jazz!
- Friday, 3rdJanuaryat 21.30h at El Cabin, Arinsal. (Free) The Shuffle Express in concert. You can’t miss the musical Friday nights at El Cabin! You will enjoy the best atmosphere of Arinsal to the best blues rhythms!
- Friday, 3rd January at 21.30h at the Hard Rock Café, Andorra la Vella. (Free) Old School Concert. From Andorra, the purest and most authentic Rock ‘n’ Roll by Old School. Playing the best versions of the history of Rock.
- Saturday,4th January at 21h at the Hotel Parador Canaro, Canillo.(Free) Shuffle Espress in concert.After a good skiing session, load your batteries with a pure blues concert!The band will entertain you with the best versions of traditional and contemporary artists such as BB King, Eric Clapton,. Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Joe Bonamassa, Jr.Watson and Little Walter, Elmore Jame, and with their original songs.
- Sunday, 5th January at 19h at the Sport Hotel Soldeu.Shuffle Espress in concert. (Free. Programme as above.)
- Saturday 4th and Monday, 6th January at 18h in the Claror Auditorium of theCultural Centre, Sant Julià de Lòria(10€ from the Cultural Centre ). The 26th consecutive edition of the ever popular, Els Pastorets(The Shepherd Boys).This year’s version is again based on that play written by Josep Maria Folchi Torres in 1916 and is directed by JuanmaCaseroassisted by Irina Robles. But the story’s a bit different. (I went to it last night with the LM Gent Gran, and had the most wonderful time. C.A.) For a start, instead of two shepherd boys there’s a shepherd boy and a shepherd girl and she looks remarkably like Greta Thunberg with her plaits and her T-shirt with a green logo saying Fridays for Future! And then there are the pillars of piled up oil drums and toxic waste dotted across the stage. I have to say I thought these two youngsters were exceptionally good amateur actors.Els Pastoretsis a Catalan Christmas entertainment dating back to the Middle Ages, a cross between a comic pantomime and a dramatic Nativity play. Lots of jokes, slap stick and laughter usually set around two shepherd boys trying to get to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. (I note from the programme that four alternative babies are named in the cast this year. Whichever one is chosen on the night, they are always amazingly good. C.A.)Meanwhile, there’s a monumental battle between good and evil. For the shepherds’ journey is beset on all sides by colourful, drum-beating devils, and lots of smoke, all orchestrated by the fiendish Lucifer as he tries to stop the shepherds reaching Bethlehem. But then, at the most perilous moment, the situation is saved – ‘Duduh!’ – by Archangel Michael or Gabriel who appear in a pool of light with big, fluffy white wings, accompanied by little angels, and sometimes flourishing a sword of righteousness! Els Pastorets is very well acted by local amateur actors guided by paid professional directors. Children love it – and so do I! (The first time I went I didn’t understand a single word but still found things to laugh at. Do give it a try!CA) If you go on Kings, 6th January, then, at the end, the Kings come down from the back of the theatre in all their splendour.
NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1st, 2020
As far as I can discover no firework displays are planned but see below for the local tradition for seeing in the New Year.
- ENCAMP:From 00:30h to 05:30h in theParty hall of the Sports and Sociocultural Complex. (Tickets: 20€ Can also be bought in advance for 15€ or on the same day at the entrance to the hall.)New Year’s Eve Party – includes a glass of cava and a bag. Throughout the night the attendees will be able to enjoy dancing to the sounds of the Swing Latino orchestra, which will give way to the latest cover versions of Dr Brujo who will carry on to the end of the celebrations.
- ESCALDES-ENGORDANY: From 00:30h to 4h or 5h in the morning at the Prat del Roure, Escaldes-Engordany. (Tickets:25€ from Escaldes-Engordany Tourist Office, Tel 890 881) New Year’s Eve Live music by the Xorop Night group.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE KINGS’ PAGES TO COLLECT THE CHILDREN’S LETTERS.
LA MASSANA: Thursday, 2nd January at 17.30h at La Massana Tourist Office. Visit of the Royal Page who will collect the letters of the children of La Massana to bring them to Their Majesties the Three Kings.
EPIPHANY/ TWELTH NIGHT/ THREE KINGS
SUNDAY, 5TH JANUARY, 2020
THE ARRIVAL OF THE CAVALCADES OF THEIR MAJESTIES THE KINGS OF THE ORIENT THROUGHOUT ANDORRA
- LA MASSANA: Starting from 17h various locations in La Massana. Cavalcade of the Three Kings of the Eastthrough the streets of La Massana with their reception in the Plaça de Les Fontetes, where Their Majestieswill receive all the children of the parish.
- ENCAMP: Starting at 18h from the PlaçadelsArínsols.The traditional Three Kings Parade will be celebrated in Encamp and Pas de la Casa, a parade where the youngest wait with cold cheeks, but their eyes alight with excitement for the arrival of Their Majesties the Magi of the East on floats, who, with their entourage of pages and goblins, distribute gifts and sweets– and coal to those who have been most mischievous.
- PAS DE LA CASA: Starting at 18h with afireworks displayand atorchlight descent of the Directapiste ski slopes. At19h, 4×4 vehicles and floats carrying Their Majesties whoarrive bearing gifts and sweetsat the Sports Center
- CANILLO: Starting at 18h at the Canillocomú carpark and proceeding to Plaça del Prat del RiuwhereTheir Majesties the Three Kings of the East: Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar will receive all the children who wish to meet them.
- ORDINO: Starting at 19h at the ACCO (Andorra Congress Centre.)Arrival of Their Majesties the Three Wise Men and aperformance ofEls Pastoretsby the children of the parish of Tortellafollowed by chocolate in the Plaça Mayor
CHILDREN (All children’s activities are in Catalan unless otherwise stated.).
- Until Saturday, 4th January, 2020 (see actual dates below) from 16.30h – 18h at the Escaldes-Engordany Art Center.Playmobil Universe Children’s Workshopsfor children. Related to the Playmobil Universe Exhibition organized by ClickFactoryFest, which features an event around the legendary Playmobil Click, from 5 dioramas representing different themes: prehistory, crusades, a zoo, pirates and a scene from the movie San Andrés. (Dates: 30th December, & 2nd, 3rd & 4th January.)
- Thursday, 2nd January at 16.30h at Les FontetesTheater, La Massana. (Free)Children’s Christmas Show: The Journey of Elephant Sara. The journey of the elephant Sara is a musical show that transports us to the world of emotions and imagination. A world where everything is possible. Following Marieta, the neighbourhood librarian, begins an adventure that will take us to Africa. Music and poetry are present at various points in the show, which includes traditional songs sung live, with arrangements composed by Dani Molina.
Andorra Children’s and Youth SALON
in Encamp and Pas de la Casa from 16h – 21h.
- The events will be held from Monday, 30th December, 2019 – Wednesday, 1st January inEncamp sports complexand from Friday 3rd – Sunday, 5th January, 2020 inPas de la Casa sports centre. The Children’s and Youth Salonof Andorrareturns this Christmas with the aim of offering children and young people aged from 2 – 18, the opportunity to enjoy various activities: shows, sports, adventureand crafts, among others. (Cost: the Day Ticket for Encamp will cost5€ per day and the Three-day pass forPas de la Casawill cost 8€. Reservations: 753 635 and 753 632)The programme includes various activities for different age groups, which will be divided into zones.
- ENCAMP: Inthe Encamp Salon, which will be held inthe Sports Complex, you will find a lot of activities to do with the Enchanted Games, where, from four traditional tales, children will be able to make broomsticks, construction games, Puppeteers, or to make-up as their favourite character, with up to twenty large format gamesfor all ages.In addition, there will also be simulators in this area: this year they include the Moon Exploring which will allow them to visit the international space stationandtake a walk on the moon, the Virtual Wingsuit 360º, which will allow them to make a virtual flightor the Basket VR, where they can take part a basketball, free-throw competition. In addition, on thestage of the party room, every day at 19h, we will enjoy a show. On Monday, 30thDecember you can enjoy circus skillswith ‘Cataplum and on 1st January there will be The suitcase of stories, a show with stories, music, puppetsand team gamesthat will help everyone spend an unforgettable time. Meanwhile, very dayin theconference room there will bedifferent workshops:jewelry, crafts, cooking, gardening, makeup, danceor Just Dance of the PS4.In the gym, as usual, you will find the special playground designed for children aged from 0 – 6, which will be full of activities such as slides, inflatables, tricycles, ball poolsand a multitude of games for the little ones. They can also enjoy, accompanied by their parents, the Salon. In addition, as a new feature of this edition, a road education circuit will be set up that will introduce the little ones to the knowledge of the horizontal and vertical signals that we find on the street. In the multipurpose room, in addition to thetraditional inflatables that the Salon is already accustomed to, this year they will find a new feature: a 50 meter American obstacle track designed for the most daring children. And for those over the age of 9, on theannex football pitch. We will also be preparing daily Roller balltournaments. The activities of the Encamp Show will close with the sports activities in collaboration with different Andorran entities: preparing, training and matches that will help participants sweat off the excesses of the parties! Starting on the 27th and 30th December with Morabanc Andorra, who will organize a training camp as well as guided matches. Followed by the Encamp Volleyball Club, which on 31st December and 1st January will organize brief trainings to give everyone a good time.
- PAS DE LA CASA: Here theChildren and Youth Salon,will take place on 3rd, 4th and 5th January, 2020 at theSports Centre.It will have amultipurpose room with a 25 meter American obstacle track, and more than 20 activitiesand large-format Enchanted Games, inflatables and VR ski simulators with three modes to choose from: a clock slalom, freestyle jumps and cabrioles, or the spectacular Heliski. In addition, jewelery, cooking, gardeningand dance workshops will also be held daily. In the Conference Room there will beChildren’s Shows, which will take place at 18h and will begin on 3rd January with the Magic ShowwithDavid the Wizardand will continue on the 4th with the show CagaTió. On 5th January, children will enjoythe arrival of Their Majesties, the Three Wise Men in the The Martial Arts Room will be the setting forthe traditional playground for children aged from 0 – 6, which will have many of the elements of the Encamp Show, and where we will also find the road education circuit. Both Salons will also have a cloakroom, a sweet storeand a bar service.
IMAGINARY CHRISTMAS WORLDS
- Until Tuesday, 7th January, 2020 starting at 17.30h Escaldes-Engordanywill become a winter stage with Imaginary Christmas Worlds to be found in different parts of the parish. The sky is loaded with snowflakes and the air smells like marzipan and hot chocolate. A bright white blanket covers the streets, decorations appear in the squares, melodies ring in every corner, and magic arises. Live every night at 30h for the unique experience of turning on the Christmas lights.
- Parc de la Mola:Gingerbread biscuitshave come to life and are hidden behind giant Christmas balls so they won’t be eaten. What will happen to them? Will someone find them?
- NacionsUnides Playground:Traditional Christmas with the wish box: A Christmas tree appeared in the middle of the park! From its branches hang dreams and at your feet, a magic mailbox will receive your wishes for Christmas and Kings.
- PlaçaCoprínceps: The nutcrackers guard the light. Guided by the star of the great golden tree, Nutcrackers keep an eye on the Christmas light throughout the holidays to make sure it is always on. When night falls, the tree wakes up and with it the whole city too.
- Plaça Santa Ana: Christmas tunes: bells big and small and drums… Notes and rhythms that ring for Christmas. A music box that will take you on a trip around Christmas songs from around the world.
- Car park del Plaça de l’Església(church car park)Scenery of a mountain winter: A snowy mountain, a squirrel in the middle of the forest, a polar bear skiing … hop on the sled and take a picture capturing an unforgettable memory!
- Charlemagne. The ceiling of light: Touch the starry sky, look in its light and follow the path …. Sparks of gold and snow stars invite you to enter the magic of Christmas … A dream picture …
- Vivand.The Disney family: A childhood journey with Disney characters: Mickie and Minnie, Donald and Goofie with the inseparable Olaf celebrates with his friends from the Polar Circle. Everyone is waiting for you to celebrate this holiday!
- Copríncep de Gaulle Bridge: The iconic nativity scenes: Take a stroll around the upper part of the parish and discover the richness of our traditions. You will find the Living Nativity, three scenes to relive the birth of the Christ child, a symbol of joy and hope. Look for the caganer!
- de FenerOver 40 years of celebrating Christmas in Escaldes-Engordany: Discover the history of Christmas lighting in the parish by strolling down Fener Avenue. Look up and see the refined Christmas decorations of the late 80’s.
- Until Sunday, 5th January at Cal Pal, Ordino.A Christmas in Cal Pal.Discover in Cal Pal how Christmas was lived in the past and learn how it is celebrated in other parts of the world today. In addition, there will be free children’s activities on Saturday, 4th January, from 16h – 18h with the storyteller Carol Caubet, and many surprises! We open on Saturday from 10h – 14h and 15h – 19h and Sunday from 10h – 14h and every day until Sunday,5th January (except 1st January 1).
- Until Tuesday, 7th January at La Llacuna Cultural Centre, Andorra la Vella.Mis Dos Yo(My Two ‘I’s)byJimena Potenza. Jimena Potenza presents a series of self portraits made using photography. For her, photography is her means of expression, it is used to investigate within her inner being and to confront the discord of her two selfs.
- Sunday, 5th January at 11.30h at the MW Electricity Museum, Encamp. (Limited places.Activity for 7 years and upwards. Adult admission: 5€. Retired people: 2.50€. Free admission for national students) Visit to the bowels of the FEDA Hydroelectric Power Station. This winter visits to the seldom seen corners of the hydroelectric power station are back! Visit the Museum and with the price of the ticket you can enjoy an exclusive visit that you will love.
ANDORRAN TRADITIONS: New Year’s Eve/Day
Pubs, bars, discos and households all over Andorra and Spain turn their televisions up to welcome in the New Year. This is so as to hear the all-important midnight chimes of the Puerta del Sol clock in Madrid. Stacked on all sides are grapes, nowadays sometimes in special little tins of twelve, otherwise still on the bunch. You select twelve and wait. Sharp at midnight the clock strikes. You gobble the grapes in hectic succession, one for each chime. If you manage to eat them all before the chimes finish then you’re assured of a prosperous year ahead! Immediately afterwards everyone raises their glass of cava or champagne to toast in the New Year.
5th/6th January: Twelfth Night/ Epiphany/ Three Kings/ Reis
(an extract from the book Andorra Revealed published in 2016.)
- Long before Andorra’s children had heard of Father Christmas they cannily delivered their wishes to the Pages of the Three Kings, those Wise Men who travelled from afar bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
- Today, on the evening of 5th January, seven trios of Kings, or Reis, ride into their seven respective towns, clad in regal finery: gold crowns, velvet cloaks, flowing locks and splendid false beards. They progress down the main streets of Andorra La Vella and Escaldes on theme-decorated floats sometimes accompanied by elves. Encamp’s Reis prefer to arrive in a carriage while in La Massana the men of the Orient usually arrive in a clattering horseback cavalcade. Pas de la Casa transports their Wise Men aboard 4x4s! The public throng the streets. Small children rush forward to scoop up the literally thousands of kilos of sweets that the Kings and children in the processions throw to the crowd. Next morning those same children will find that the Kings, bearing gifts, have visited them in the silence of the night.
There’s also a Three Kings’ Cake (most festivals worth their salt in Andorra have a distinctive cake.) This one, Tortell de Reis, is decorated with green, orange and red crystallized fruits, filled with marzipan or custard and topped off by a golden crown. Each cake is baked complete with a tiny china figurine of a Rei and also a dried broad bean hidden inside. Win the Rei and you’re king for the day and get to wear the crown. End up with the bean and you pay for the tortell– and possibly have a broken tooth thrown in.