JOIN THE BARCELONA’S BIGGEST EVENT
La Mercè has been a city holiday since 1871, and although the official feast day is September 24, the festival begins a few days earlier. This celebration is honouring Mare de Déu de la Mercè (the Virgin of Mercy), the Patron Saint of Barcelona city.
This is the largest and the most colourful of all events in Barcelona. It bids goodbye to the summer and welcomes in the autumn. Often there are up to 500 different happenings in the scope of the festival and they take place throughout the city, but there are some top events that make the Festes famous all around the world.
HUMAN TOWERS, DRAGONS, GIANT KINGS AND QUEENS
The highlight of the Festival are surely the Castellers or human towers. Performances take place at the Plaça de Sant Jaume in the Gothic Quarter. Thousands of people fill this area so it’s recommendable to come earlier. The aim is to build a human tower, which requires huge amount of teamwork and training, but it’s an impressive sight to see. The basis is called “pinya” and it consists of the strongest men who have to carry the most of the weight. One or two additional ring-shaped floors or “manilles” are put on the top of pinya. Climbing to the top of the tower is allowed only for the children because of their weight. At the end, the “anxenta” climbs to the top and remains there only for a few seconds to salute the crowd. The goal is finally reached if the tower is de-constructed without falling apart, which is a procedure equally complicated and tricky as the build-up.
Correfoc or the Fire run takes place at dusk on the Via Laietana. Fire-breathing dragons along with dangerous devils and other monsters roam the streets and scare the people with fireworks and bangers. One of our Barcelona tips important for this occasion is to put on some protective clothes that can’t be ruined by a few sparks, and if you want to see the dragons from the close range, you should wear glasses. There is also the Correfoc for the children that happens before this one and is more harmless.
Gigantes or the Giant parade is great fun for the whole family. Giant figures of kings, queens, nobles and saints march through the streets of Barcelona city spinning around and around so the crowd can see them. They are accompanied by the play of flutes and small percussion groups. Mercè festival is definitely Barcelona’s biggest party of the year. You shouldn’t miss this event if it takes place during your Barcelona trip. Join it, soak in the real life, tradition and the spirit of this splendid city.