Raised in the Hautes-Pyrénées, Stéphanie can be considered as part of the “afegits” (literally “added person” in catalan). They are not originally catalan, but they come in Northern Catalania for different reasons and finally stay there to live and adhere to the catalan culture.
She followed the classic steps: first she came for holiday, then she fell in love with the catalans and their mentality and finally stayed here to live. That is why we talk about “afegits”, clearly more adapted and warmed compared to strangers.
What can you tell us about the Eastern Pyrenees ?
I was raised in the Hautes-Pyrénées. At the beginning I used to spend my holidays in the Eastern Pyrenees to enjoy the nice weather. Finally, I fell in love with the mentality of the catalans. The multiplicity of things to do here is fantastic. First we went here for the sun and the beach, but we usually come back for other reasons.
What do you really like with the Catalans ?
It is above all their attachment for the local values and traditions. For instance, when the region was named Occitanie, which was historically a mistake, most of the villages decided to mention “Catalan country” at their entries. I also remember the first Christmas I experienced here. I had the chance to be welcomed by locals who invited me and showed me how they celebrated Christmas. The tradition “El Cagà tio” really really marked me. It is actually a small log of wood covered with a light sheet that we name, literally and our apologies for that, “log of shit”. On Christmas Eve, we ask the log, by tapping on it, to “shit” (this is the word traditionally used) a gift. Usually, this gift is a small one that is shared with the family afterwards. This special celebration of Christmas deeply touched me because it was a true moment of conviviality shared with different generations. I had the chance to be welcomed by local and fantastic residents who allowed me to discover a nice culture I didn’t know.
What can you add about the B-Holidays project ?
It will enable our region to diversify our tourism by attracting people coming from abroad to help them discover our culture. It is really positive for the local economy and actors.