1st December 2015, Unesco announced that the application of the Fire Festivals Celebrations of summer solstice in the Pyrenees had been admitted into the prestigious international list of World Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is worth saying that Alta Ribagorça is the Catalan region that hosts the highest number of villages with fire celebrations. The descent of falles has been a deeply rooted tradition in the villages of Alta Ribagorça since the dawn of time. The falles are two-metre-long resinous trunks that are treated for a few days before the day of the descent. The descent of the falles starts from a high spot in the mountain that can be seen from the village where a pine called “faro” is used to set the trunks on fire before the descent starts. The descent from the mountain is carried out in a row of fire led by the fadrí major (group leader), who guides the fallaires till the main square of the village, where they are welcomed with music and the sound of the bells. The half-burnt trunks are thrown together to make a huge bonfire. The festival is on.
Each year, the falles set new records for participation and attendance and more and more tourists join this ancestral local festival. The fallaires experience unforgettable sensations such as the bell-ringings in all the villages, the shouts of encouragement that turn this celebration into a collective liturgy, and the finish around the bonfire.
Fire has always been a very important element of our daily life. This tradition is the survival of the worship of purifying fire. Lit on the top of a mountain, this fire is descended to the village through the trunks and carried around the streets in order to purify the bad spirits that hide in every corner.
In Alta Ribagorça, you can find three types of falles: the rentiners, made of one piece; the falles made on stick, the most common in the region, made with pieces of pine attached to a stick of ash with wire and fencing nails; and the falles of Vilaller, huge inverted pyramids attached with wire and filled with pine wood.
THE FIRE ROUTES
Discover this route of fire, magic and passion through 10 itineraries that will take you to the most spectacular faros in the region.
Designated World Intangible Cultural Heritage on 1st December 2015, Falles represent the fire celebrations in the Pyrenees. The Fire Routes are aimed at following the steps of our ancestors through the paths they used in order to make you travel through time, enjoy nature and preserve tradition.
The Fires Routes can be done all year round and at all ages (low degree of difficulty). They start from the village and go up to a high spot with wonderful views where a faro (pine) is planted and used to light the trunks around before the descent.
Come and discover part of our local essence through the Fire Routes.