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Festivals and traditions

The Baix Empordà celebrates various festivals and traditions that follow the Catalan festive calendar. While some traditions are the same, they all have the character of the Empordà and the distinctiveness of an authentic and genuine region. Enjoy them!

  • Photo: Pilar Planagumà. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG


    One of the oldest festivals in Catalonia is Christmas, which developed in ancient Rome as a Christian replacement for the celebration of the winter solstice. Christmas celebrates the birth and first days of life of Jesus Christ, culminating with arrival of the Three Kings from the Orient to worship the infant. In addition, New Year’s Eve is celebrated part way through it on 31 December. Over time, Christmas has acquired a less religious tone and focusses on gatherings of family and friends, good cheer and giving presents.

  • Photo: Jordi Geli. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG


    Carnival, the wildest festival of the year, has its roots in Roman Saturnalia festivals and in the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is a period of celebration before the austerity of Lent in which social norms are blurred and all excesses seem to be permitted. It usually starts with dijous gras or dijous llarder (Fat Thursday) and is characterised by foods that combine meat and eggs (for example, the botifarra d’ou sausage with egg in it).

  • Photo: Xavier Llop. Ajuntament de Verges

    Holy Week

    Holy Week is the most important festival in Christianity. It commemorates the last days of Christ’s life and his death and subsequent resurrection. The acts start with Friday of Sorrows and Palm Sunday, although the main event is the following week. On Holy Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week, the Last Supper is commemorated and different festivals are held around the region, such as the Dance of Death in Verges. This followed by Good Friday when many of the processions are held. Three days later, Holy Week ends with the celebration of Easter Sunday and Monday, which symbolise the resurrection of Christ. 

  • Photo: Arxiu d'Imatges Ajuntament de Palamós

    Festes Majors

    The festes majors are the celebrations that best embody the essence of the land and of each particular village, town or city. These events bring together neighbours and visitors to celebrate each place’s patron saint.

  • Other festivals

    The Baix Empordà does not neglect other Catalan celebrations. Foremost among these is Sant Jordi, the celebration of Catalonia’s patron saint, which is the day of books and roses. This celebration, on the 23rd of April, is based on the legend of Saint George, a knight who saved a princess who was going to be killed by a dragon. On this day, the streets and squares of the towns and villages of the Baix Empordà fill up with people, strolling and giving books and roses as gifts on one of the most special days of the year.