PICK OF THE WEEK: Saturday, 20th June – Sunday, 28th June, 2020


Saturday, 20th & Sunday, 21st June around the parish of Encamp. Village Day 2020 The Comú won’t be able to do everything they would like, but they will have a Village Party! Music, children’s shows, street parades all respecting sanitary measures, masks and maximum capacity.

SATURDAY: 11.30h Field of virtual revelry via the comú’s YouTube channel. 12h Parade through the village with Les Poppins.

16.30h Children’s show, “Explosive” in the Prat Gran 18h Parade through the village with Les Poppins.

20h Musical performance by The Scarlet Brotherhood in the Plaça Arínsols.

SUNDAY: 12h Parade through the village with Les Cyclos.

18h Children’s show “Que Peti la Plaça” in the Prat Gran.

18h Parade through the village with Les Cyclos.

20h Musical performance by Manu & The Vodk’s in the Plaça Arínsols. Have a good party!

Tuesday, 23rd June at 21h in the Plaça de les Fontetes, La Massana. Midsummer’s Eve of Sant Joan. Andorra’s Bonfire night. There will be a seated outdoor concert with social distance and masks obligatory. (So far there’s no information re a bonfire. See below for more info on the tradition of Sant Joan and the declaration and video of the Summer Solstice fire festivals of the Pyrenees which led to them being
recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.)


Friday, 19th – Sunday, 21st June and Wednesday 24th – Thursday 25th June at 21.45h at Cinemas Illa Carlemany, Escaldes-Engordany. Full Metal Jacket directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio. The Story: A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the
Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

During the Vietnam War, under the ruthless command of Hartman, a few recruits face mental
breakdowns. After a bizarre event, the soldiers are left to deal with the war’s hellish mayhem. Winner of several awards, Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 realistic Vietnam war film said to be one of the best films of the
80’s, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick didn’t like to travel so this Vietnam film was actually shot in the East End of London.

Saturday, 27th June from 10h – 13h Llorts, Ordino. Ethnobotanical outing on the Iron Route. (Registration at [email protected] or Tel +376 338 096. ) Discover herbs and plants for medicinal purposes with Manel Niell, Cenma researcher (Institut d’Estudis Andorrans.)

UNESCO: Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Pyrenees In 2010, the falles* were declared a Festival of National Interest by he government of Andorra and were included in the general inventory of Andorran heritage as an intangible asset. … The summer solstice fire festivals of the Pyrenees, are a tradition included, since 2015, on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Festival of SANT JOAN

(An extract from the book Andorra Revealed)

23rd & 24th June: The Eve and Festival of Sant Joan is held on the Summer Solstice when the sun reaches its zenith. (Interestingly, for the Catalans, this is considered the beginning of Summer whereas in the UK it is known as Midsummer’s Eve. Arguably, it is Catalonia’s and Andorra’s favourite festival. Starting at sunset on 23rd June, it lasts right through the night till the dawn of the 24th with open-air parties in the mountains or on the beach while rockets, and bonfires keep the night alive.

In ancient times the sun symbolised fertility and wealth; the stronger the sun the more fecund the crops and livestock and the more prosperous the people. A mass of bonfires was thought to boost the sun’s power. So, before Health and Safety came to douse the fun, fires were lit everywhere: in all the side streets and little squares.

Lovers were even encouraged to hold hands and leap over the flames seven times to boost fertility!

The ‘Mother’ Flame of Canigó. Mount Canigó, 2,784m high, is sacred to the Catalan peoples rather as Mt Fuji is to the Japanese. Situated, after border changes, just across the frontier in the French Pyrenees, it used to be part of North Catalonia.

In 1955 a bonfire was lit on the peak of Canigó from which torches were brought down to light the bonfires for Sant Joan. Ever since then the ‘mother’ flame has been kept alive in a kitchen near Perpignan. On the 22nd June, a new bonfire is lit on Canigó using this flame and young people come from all over Catalonia and Andorra on bikes, on skateboards etc to carry back the ‘daughter’ flames to light the village bonfires. It is
reckoned that over 90% of Sant Joan bonfires, maybe 3,000 in all, are lit from the fire on Mt. Canigó.

Each parish in Andorra has their fallaires, or keepers and builders of the fire and each parish takes it in turn to host The Flame.

Another essential feature of Sant Joan is the falles or balls of fire. Said to originate with Charlemagne as a weapon of war, they were once made from the bark of white birch, dried over time and then set alight. Today, with the aim of protecting the trees, the falles are made from more environmentally friendly wads of thick white per held together by chicken wire attached to the end of a long chain. Once darkness falls, the fallaires set them alight and spin these flaming ‘balls’ around their heads creating the impression of great wheels of fire coming down the mountains, purifying the air and driving out evil spirits.

Finally, as with most self-respecting Catalan festivals, Sant Joan has its own special pastry with a glazed, bread-like base often covered with beaten egg white, yogurt or ‘custard’ topped off with chopped, brightly coloured crystalized fruits.

Culturally yours,



Look for about the author of the blog Clare Allcard


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