Festa Major de Gràcia: See the Streets Come Alive!

Enjoy the Festa Major de GraciaThe Festa Major de Gràcia is springing up in Barcelona again this year from August 15th through the 21st. One of the city’s foremost street festivals, this is a wonderful time to visit and experience traditional Catalan culture in one of the most beautiful and quirky neighborhoods in Catalonia. Both an opportunity to learn about Spanish traditions as well as enjoy delicious food and wonderful entertainment, Festa Major de Gràcia is truly an event of the year for many residents who graciously devote their public spaces to celebrating their ancestry, all the while welcoming guests – about 1.5 million of them each year – to share in this annual celebration.

A Local Tradition

Gràcia was once an independent town outside of Barcelona proper. As the city grew it engulfed this small community, but its roots have remained intact over the years through the hard work and commitment of the founding families. A way in which the area has remained such a tight community over the years is by hosting their annual Festa Major de Gràcia. Completely volunteer-led, members of the community have continued, year-after-year, to band together and host this outstanding celebration of Catalan culture in their very own streets. The communal feeling they create is indeed what keeps both residents and visitors returning every year for this event.

Grand Decorations

The main attraction is the outlandish and extravagant decorations that take months of planning, and days of setup before the festival each year. Local business owners and community members devote a lot of time to transforming the neighborhood into different scenes of underwater and Outerspace worlds, or even a zombie hangout. Every evening after sunset these displays light up, making for a beautiful evening stroll or an epic time to enjoy some tapas. The biggest crowds are found after sunset on August 15th as people flock to the streets to witness the first lighting of the year. Don’t miss seeing what worlds will arise at this year’s celebration!

Other Activities at Festa Major de Gràcia

Aside from the decorations, which are themselves worth the trip, festival goers can also look forward to tasting many dishes of Catalan tradition, drinking their wines, and enjoying their music that is played right in the street. This festival is completely free, besides the food and drink you might enjoy amid the created worlds, and is a the perfect activity for the whole family. The little ones will love exploring, eating and dancing in this festive atmosphere. More information on this year’s schedule can be found here in the coming weeks, so you can start getting excited for the Festa Major de Gràcia 2016.

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Your Guide to the Unique Catalan and Spanish Traditions and Customs

Your Guide to the Unique Catalan and Spanish Traditions and Customs

One of the best parts about visiting a new place is immersing yourself in their culture by observing and participating in their many customs and practices.  Spain, in particular, has some of the most uncommon and extraordinary behaviors in the world!  The northeast region of Spain, Catalonia, has its own distinct attributes as well.  Read the list below to discover some Catalan and Spanish traditions you may not have heard before.

Best Catalan and Spanish Traditions and Customs

Dining

Lunch is the most important meal of the day in Spain!  Breakfast and dinner are usually smaller meals, with dinner normally served around 9:00 p.m.  A popular form of Spanish food is tapas, which is a term that refers to small and delicious snacks eaten throughout the day.  One of the most beloved kinds of tapas in the Catalonia region is pan con tomate, a delightful toasted bread seasoned with tomato, olive oil, and salt.  

Entertainment

Entertainment in Spain is unlike any that you’ve ever experienced before!  Read through a few highlights of these popular recreational activities to get an idea of what you’ll see here.  

1. Bullfighting: This intense sport originated all the way back in 711 A.D.  It consists the skilled bullfighter, called a Matador, fighting to assert his dominance over a highly dangerous bull.  Onlookers sit on the edge of their seats to watch the outcome of these sometimes deadly shows.

2. Soccer: You’re guaranteed to love the thrill of an FC Barcelona soccer game!  These matches happen regularly and it’s fairly easy to score some tickets.  Visitors flock to the magnificent Camp Nou stadium so they don’t miss out on witnessing the stellar performance of one of the world’s best soccer teams.

3. Nightlife: A significant part of Spanish culture is their nightlife!  With all the spectacular beach clubs, going out on the town is a regular pastime here.  

Events and Holidays

Many Catalan and Spanish customs can be seen through their many unique holidays and festive events.  Take a look at these fun ways to celebrate in Spain and Catalonia!

1. Castellers: This is one of the best events to watch!  Part of the yearly Grand Festival, Castellers consists of teams of men standing on each others’ shoulders to create the tallest tower they can.  

2. Tió de Nadal: This Catalan Christmas tradition involves children dressing up a hollow log with a face, hat, and blanket.  This hollow log is filled with sweets the night before Christmas, so the children can wake up Christmas morning and beat the stump with a stick to spill out all the treats!

3. Carnival: One week of every year, the streets of Barcelona are filled with more colors and costumes than ever seen before!  The Carnival celebration honors the time period leading up to Lent through music, performances, games, and much more.

4. Running of the Bulls: This extreme event takes place in many Spanish cities as part of the San Fermin Festival; it consists of bulls being led at breakneck speeds throughout the streets.  This one of the most frequently spectated events in the area; it has been broadcasted live on television as well for over 30 years.

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