The end of summer in Catalonia is a time for celebration, which has been the tradition since La Mercè Barcelona began back in 1902. Known worldwide as the city’s largest street party, people travel from far and wide to partake in the five days of festivities designed to celebrate Catalan culture and the cooler days ahead. If you have yet to experience the events and energy at La Mercè Barcelona, perhaps this will be your year! Though the official dates have yet to be announced, you can be sure that it will take place around September 24th as it does every year.
La Mercè Barcelona History
Named for the patron saint of Barcelona, Mercè who, as legend has it, blessed the city on many occasions to protect it from wars and plagues, is the cause for celebration when the end of September rolls around each year. At the turn of the century, when pope Pius IX declared the Virgin of Mercy the patron saint of Barcelona, he had many festivities planned in her honor, which were held throughout the city. In 1902 those festivities were organized into an official festival, which has been celebrated each year since, much to the excitement of both Catalonians and the many visitors to our beautiful city.
Top La Mercè Events
- Castellers – While waltzing down the street during La Mercè Barcelona you may stumble upon a human tower reaching stories above ground! Don’t be alarmed, the Castellers, as they’re called, are well trained performers who aim to show the Catalonia spirit of unity through this performance art. It is a tradition that has been around as long as the festival itself. Head to the Gothic Quarter during the festivities to Plaça de Sant Jaume and you’ll surely catch one of their memorable towers.
- Correfoc – Known as the procession of the fire-breathing dragons, this event takes place along the Via Laietana as dusk sets in. The dragons, who do indeed breath fire in the form of fireworks and sparklers, are accompanied by scary looking devils and mythical monsters marching through the streets and give everyone a little frightful excitement. If you do plan on attending this wonderful spectacle be sure to wear clothing that you won’t mind being damaged by sparks, as well as glasses or a hat to protect your eyes.
- Gigantes – Don’t miss this chance to see the Catalan monarchy of old march through the streets. No, not real royalty, but giant costumed performers who dance to the accompaniment of drummers and flutists.
If you have yet to experience the wonders of La Mercè Barcelona it is nothing short of a once in a lifetime experience. Not only will you get a taste for authentic Catalan culture with some of its rich history mixed in, but September is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Barcelona. The summer heat is subsiding, while that temperate Mediterranean fall sweeps in for a few months of paradise. This trip could really be a dream come true!