'La Xollada' commemorates sheep shearing tradition in Pyrenees

Festival celebrates Sort's livestock keeping and highlights importance of shepherds

Sheep herd at Pallars mountains
Sheep herd at Pallars mountains / Catalan News

Catalan News | Sort

June 26, 2024 01:59 PM

June 26, 2024 02:06 PM

The Pyrenees municipality of Sort held its annual sheep shearing festival, a tradition that has lasted over 30 years. With 8000 heads of sheep grazing in the town and throughout the Pyrenees, 'La Xollada' commemorates the area's culture of raising sheep and shearing their wool. 

Usually occurring once to twice a year, when the weather gets hot or when livestock begin to be herded up to the Pyrenees mountains, sheep shearing is a staple of the region and is a practice that has subsisted over generations. 

As the summer begins, 'La Xollada' offers the people of Sort, its surrounding areas, and many visitors a chance to learn about how sheep and livestock are traditionally cared for.


The festival includes a display of six people trimming a flock of sheep using shears from past and modern times

When asked about the impact of the event, Pere Báscones, Sort's councilor for culture, said, "Despite being a small show, somehow, 'La Xollada' highlights the importance of sheep shearing and teaches visitors about it. It also helps children learn more about our traditions."

The wool problem 

Years ago, sheep wool was considered an economic supplement. Today, it is the opposite as demand for wool is next to zero

Although wool is a biodegradable, sustainable, and quality fabric, demand for the material has fallen in favor of other fabrics. It is even considered a residue or waste.

A person during a sheep shearing on June 24, 2024 in Sort
A person during a sheep shearing on June 24, 2024 in Sort / Marta Lluvich

Farmers have consequently taken to paying sheep shearers to trim their livestock and throw away their wool, and many of them accumulate bags full of it.

Shearing remains a necessary practice as sheep must be trimmed in order to preserve their physical wellbeing in the heat of the summer months.