More than just a holiday
The day of La Mercé
Every year, at the end of September, there is a festival in Barcelona, incomparable to others due to the large number of participants: The day of La Mercé.
It is an important festival for Barcelona because at the same time as celebrating the day of the city’s patroness, people say goodbye to summer.
It has been celebrated since 1871 and it is the most important day of the year for the Catalan capital. Although the day of La Mercé falls on September 24th, many free concerts as well as other fun and cultural activities take place all week from the 18th of September making the city an unforgettable place to be.
The main ceremony throughout the week is the mass held on the morning of the 24th of September in the "Basilica de la Mercé" in the heart of the Gothic neigborhood, which is the oldest part of Barcelona and where you can find the wooden statue of Mercé, Mother of God.
After mass, the city is ready to start with the cultural activities. In every square, stages are set up to receive musicians and dancers of great prestige. Troupes of circus and street performers are present everywhere in the city. Traditional “Castells” competitions are held – a competition of the highest and most enduring human tower. They are built by teams of "castellers", who stand up on each other's shoulders.
The oldest part of the city turns into a continuous festival with exhibitions of fire-breathing dragons, fantastical giants, Catalan wine tasting and all whilst dancing the most traditional Catalan dance: The Sardana.
At night, the city, under the sound of bells, plunges into a smokescreen from the bangers and fireworks – in the central square of the city on Via Laietana!
In the city center, a traditional parade of giant dolls representing mythical characters such as kings, princesses, or farmers go through the streets dancing among the public. A truly unforgettable parade delighting not only children but also adults.
The last day finishes on Avenida Maria Cristina, where the magic fountain of Montjuic comes alive with a giant music-water-light show accompanied by amazing fireworks.
Anyone can take part in the majority of these marvelous and unique events!
The Independence Day of Catalonia (La Diada) – September 11th
La Diada – is a regional holiday in Catalonia. On this day, all the balconies are filled with Catalan flags called “la Senyera”. In the streets of Barcelona, plenty of events are held to commemorate the fall of the city under the pressure of French-Spanish troops during the battle for Spanish heritage in 1714.
Traditionally, Catalan citizens lay flowers at the monument of Raphael Casanova, who played a decisive role during the siege of Barcelona, heading the defending forces of the city in the final stage. However, the event occurs in the Cuitadella park, where 2000 chairs are available for those wishing to take part in the celebration.
In Cuitadella park, Catalan artists offers musical representations and recitals of poetry next to internationals guests and popular dancing groups.
Also, on these days, all the museums and where the Catalan government is established, the “Palau de la Generalitat”, is free to everybody who wishes to visit. Stands are set up by Catalan institutions in the city centre that explain the festival and program of the festivities.
Magical, unforgettable nights in Casa Batlló!
Visiting Casa Batlló, made by the great architect Antoni Gaudi, means being mesmerized with fantasy and beauty but if it happens under candlelight, the effect is amplified.
So, the fifth consecutive year of the spring dating of magic nights in Casa Batllo is from 18th June to 27th September
You can visit the former residence of the Batlló family and enjoy a glass of champagne or beer and a musical performance. You will see a variety of artists, ranging from duo guitarists, Catalan rumba, to vocal displays from tenors and sopranos. The night is divided into two parts: the first from 21:30 on the terrace of the modernist patio, where a concert is given, the second, after 23:00, which is a breathtaking audiovisual projection on the wall of the building called "The awakening of Casa Batlló".
Gràcia street party (Festa Major de Gracia)
One of the most spectacular street parties in Barcelona. Every year in early August, the young and bohemian give up all of their affairs for a few weeks to work hard in order that their streets take part in the competition for the title of the most beautiful street of the area
Each street has its own theme, chosen by their residents, jungle, circus, space ship, sea, cabaret…
They have to pay particular attention to the materials used to make the scenery. The fact is most of it is recycled rubbish: cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and beer cans, old newspapers, spare parts from cars and bicycles, etc.
Thanks to this, the festival is an event that calls for reflection on protecting the environment and practically has no costs in materials.
It is obligatory that all the bars in the neighborhood offer reasonably priced beer, cocktails and snacks. By nightfall, the streets of the district are filled with citizens and tourists and the fun begins with parties, concerts, and karaoke until the morning.
Barceloneta street party (Festa Major de la Barceloneta)
For anyone who likes to have fun on the beach in the open air whilst enjoying the sea breeze, a big celebration is held at the most popular city beach in Spain, Barceloneta beach, at the end of September/beginning of October.
The fun starts with fireworks on the beach, a 24-hour football tournament, live bands, acrobats and the traditional Catalan dance, The“Sardana”.
Free slices of traditional Catalan cake (“coca de vidre”) are on offer. The holiday lasts for at least ten days. During these days, there is music everywhere, exhibitions of fire-breathing dragons, open-air cinema and obviously the famous and loved Catalan human castles, “Castellers”.
Impatiently, everybody waits for the main star of the festivities – General Boom-Boom, who dances among the participants with his wooden canon shooting lots of sweets into the crowd ensuring the children’s participation.