Since 1979, every first weekend in
July,the Associació de Raiers de la Noguera Pallaresa (Noguera Pallares River Rafters Association) takes advantage of the fact that this is the time of the year when the water in the rivers runs highest
in order to celebrate Raiers, or River Rafters’ Day. The day is given over in honour of this ancient trade, dedicated to river transport, which historically has been
very important for the economy of Pallars.
That of the raier, or river rafter, was a hard and risky trade, which consisted of transporting the wood from the Pyrenees to the flat lands of the coast, using their rafts to take advantage of the river currents. The great popular festival to remember them begins with the construction of this traditional boat: the trunks placed side-by-side, the oak transoms, the birch spars, the rudders and the two oars that will allow the raft to be steered. Finally, the deck is built which houses the cargo, that is, the dry clothes, the food and the bottle of wine.
On Sunday morning, the highlight of the Day takes place: the descent of the rafts down the Noguera Pallaresa river. From 11 am, the rafters, dressed in period clothing, cover the five-kilometre stretch between the Presa de la Llania and the Pont de Claverol. Crowds of people gather on the banks of the river and, when they arrive, there is no shortage of
music and the traditional brotherhood meal closes the day.
A new reason for celebration arrived in 2022, the year in which the craft of
raier or rafter was included on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The candidacy, presented jointly by the governments of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia,
Poland and Spain, highlighted the social cohesion linked to the rafting tradition, the sustainable use of wood and water, the survival of artisanal techniques and the relationship between communities and nature.