Sant Jordi 2020 – When and how will be celebrated?

Books and Roses

A new date has been announced for Sant Jordi 2020. This year, given the current circumstances, the official Booksellers Guild and Florists Guild of Catalonia have decided to postpone this eagerly awaited event on the Catalan calendar in line with Government guidelines. 

Sant Jordi – which is normally celebrated every year on World Book Day on 23rdApril – will be postponed to 23rdJuly with the safety of all in mind. All events, workshops and readings will also be postponed to this date, in addition to the Sant Jordi discount on books.

The proposal of the Booksellers Guild and Florists Guild foresees limited stops and pre-organized book signings to comply with security measures and hygiene. The proposal for Sant Jordi 2020 is pending approval by Procicat and the corresponding municipalities. In Barcelona has been planned to install a thousand stops, for which will be needed the approval of the Municipal Events Commission.

In addition, queues and movement between stops will be regulated, for which a maximum space will be set. All visitors must come with a mask, respect the distance of 1.5 meters and follow the instructions on safety and hygiene given by the organization.

Sant Jordi 2020

Why is Sant Jordi so important?

If you’ve had the chance to experience this day in Barcelona before, you’ll understand just how important it is. It is a day on which the young and old alike take to the streets to buy their loved ones a gift. All the main streets of Barcelona are lined with bookstalls and on every corner you’ll find rose sellers selling single roses. 

The origin of this literary celebration is a popular story in many cultures and is based on the story of Sant Jordi and the dragon. To read more about its history and how it’s celebrated, check out our Sant Jordi article here.

Sant Jordi 2020 will definitely take place in a very different way than usual

Sant Jordi 2020 at home

Lovers of Sant Jordi don’t despair! If you don’t want to walk around to visit the different bookstalls on the 23rd of July, you can also celebrate Sant Jordi 2020 from home!

This year, Casa Batlló is encouraging the citizens of Barcelona to bring the magic of Sant Jordi into their own homes. Every year on this day, this beautiful Gaudí house inspired by the mythical dragon is normally adorned with hundreds of red roses. 

So, be sure to follow the #SantJordialBalcons (SantJordiBalconies) initiative on social media and join in from home by decorating your own balcony with pictures, roses, dragons and book covers. Avoid boredom by getting creative and painting, drawing and making together with your loved ones.

Sant Jordi at home

Remember to upload your pictures to social media with the above hash tag. The ten publications with the most likes will win a collection of children’s books. 

Supporting local booksellers

Additionally, don’t forget that it’s still possible to buy books online from local sellers. Thanks to the platform “LlibreriesObertes” (OpenBookstores), you can order your books and pick them up once the lockdown regulations have been lifted.

The initiative was launched in order to support these local publishers and bookstores during these times of hardship. With the objective of selling 30,000 books, these advance sales will ensure the survival of the city’s bookstores.

Sant Jordi 2020 - books

Check out the website here and help support Barcelona’s bookstores: https://llibreriesobertes.cat

These are days of reading from home, this is why we also recommend you also 8 books about Barcelona that you will love.

How will you be celebrating Sant Jordi 2020 this year? Let us know!

Easter Week in Barcelona – 7 days to celebrate

Just like many places around the world, Easter Week in Barcelona is an important time of year at which locals get together with friends and families to celebrate many a festivity.

Easter Week

Easter Week is celebrated across the country, from the largest cities to the smallest villages, yet in Barcelona you’re sure to experience celebrations like no other with a long line of typical Catalan traditions.

So if you’re thinking of spending the Easter week in Barcelona, here are a few useful tips to make sure you don’t miss out on the most typical events and cultural traditions.

This year (2020) Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday 5thApril 2020 ending with Easter Sunday on 12thApril and Easter Monday on 13thApril. Restaurants and bars tend to be open to cater for family meals, but don’t forget that shops and museums will be closed over Easter weekend.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Barcelona 2021: 28 March – 03 April

‘Semana Santa’ translates as Holy Week and it is an important week in the Christian calendar. Barcelona, as part of Catalunya, is traditionally less religious than other parts of Spain, particularly in the South. However, it still has its fair share of celebrations during this period.

Holy week is the week before Easter and starts with Palm Sunday. It includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday but does not include Easter Sunday.

Dates for Easter Week (Holy week)
Year: 2021

Palm Sunday 28 March
Good Friday 02 April
Easter Saturday 03 April

Easter
Easter Sunday 04 April
Easter Monday 05 April

Holy week begins on Palm Sunday, when a procession traditionally takes place around the cathedral with people holding palms. A week of religious ceremonies follows, ending on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is most likely the most important of all Easter Week in Barcelona. We recommend you head to the Gothic quarter and catch the “La Burreta” (donkey) procession that commemorates Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem. 

Easter week in Barcelona blessing of the Palm branches

Keep an eye out for the olive and palm branches carried by children to the local churches to be blessed. You’ll also see them hanging from doors and balconies to ward off evil spirits.

Good Friday is another important date in the liturgical calendar. The Cathedral of Barcelona, and many other local churches, will commemorate this day and the Stations of the Cross with a Via Crucis mass.

Typical sweets

When it comes to food, Easter wouldn’t be Easter without its sweet and savoury delicacies. In between exploring the city and its Easter customs, we recommend taking a break and recharging your batteries with the best of Catalan cuisine.

“La Mona” is a local Easter cake typically made from chocolate and decorated with small figures and animals, chocolate eggs and other sweet treats. Today these cakes are true works of art, but they were originally made from a round sweet brioche and topped with hard-boiled eggs with its tradition dating back to Roman times.

Easter week in Barcelona typical Mona de Pascua

Be sure to drop in to a local bakery to marvel at these fantastic creations or pick one up and try it for yourself!

What’s more, as it is Christian tradition not to eat meat on Good Friday, make sure you also try the typical cod dishes served at local restaurants. Our favourite is the salted codfish in a vegetable sauce, bacalao con sanfaina.

Must visit

If you’re spending the whole week in Barcelona, we’d also recommend day trips to the villages of Cervera or Verges with processions that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. From Cervera’s skeletons that dance the “Dance of Death” to the Verges Procession in which the entire village takes part, be prepared to be amazed.

Easter week in Barcelona celebration and processions

Now you know the dates for Easter Week in 2021 therefore, no excuses for a trip to Barcelona! and now that you have decided to spend Easter Week in Barcelona, why not stay at one of our centrally located flats to make sure you don’t miss a thing?

First Dip of the Year in Barcelona

What better way to welcome in the New Year than a bracing dip in the Mediterranean? Since 1996, hundreds of bold bathers have flocked to Platja de Sant Sebastià for the first dip of the year (Primer Bany de l’Any). Why not join these brave souls on January 1st 2017 at midday as they charge into the sea, clad in only their swimming costumes and the occasional Santa hat?!

The event, organised by el Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta, is totally free and is a sure-fire way to rid your cobwebs from the night before! And, if the prospect of an icy dip is a little daunting, you can register at the club´s reception prior to the event for a hot shower afterwards. This is a brilliant affair and a far better alternative to a day spent hibernating under the duvet, cradling a packet of Alka-Seltzer to nurse your hangover.

Whilst not for the faint-hearted (medically speaking), proponents of icy dips claim that the health benefits are numerous. Swimming in cold water can help your immune system, improve libido and boost circulation. Some even claim to experience a natural high so surely that´s reason enough to tempt you!first-dip-of-the-year-in-barcelona

  • Join Europe´s Popular New Year´s Day Tradition

By taking part in Barcelona´s Primer Bany de l’Any, you’ll join the tradition of thousands of people who mark the start of the New Year with a dip in the sea, rivers or lakes and, with an average water temperature of 13 degrees in January, Barcelona provides a comparatively gentle winter bathing experience!

For over 30 years, bathers have braved the freezing waters off Barry Island (Wales) for a New Year´s Day swim and in Edinburgh (Scotland), locals take part in the Loony Dook –  an icy plunge into the River Forth where the water is decidedly chilly! Similarly, in Rzeszów (Poland) bathers refuse to be deterred by the bitingly cold waters year on year.

first-dip-of-the-year-in-barry-island

The Netherlands boasts over 60 locations for a New Year´s Day plunge, and insist there is no better way to start the year. With a whopping 25,000 participants each January, the Dutch are arguably the champions of this watery tradition. The largest scale event is the annual nieuwjaarsduik in Scheveningen which welcomes approximately 10,000 swimmers.

first-dip-of-the-year-in-the-netherlands

So, what are you waiting for?! Get 2020 off to a great start and make this January 1st a day to remember by heading to Barcelona for a New Year’s Day dip!

Christmas Bath in Barcelona

What is the day of Sant Esteve and why is it celebrated in Catalonia?

Around the globe, there is much more to the festive season than the typical Christmas day meal and get-together.

Saint Stephen’s Day, the Feast of Saint Stephen or Sant Esteve– as it is commonly known across Catalonia – is a special day celebrated by Catalans the day after Christmas, on the 26thDecember.

Today we’d like to share with you the thousand-year old story of how this extension of Christmas day came to hold such a special place in Catalan festive traditions. 

Saint Stephen is known to many as the first martyr of the Christian faith. Accused of blasphemy and later stoned to death (in approximately 35 AD), today he is the patron saint of servers and masons. His feast is celebrated throughout the Western Christian world on the 26thDecember and in many European countries, the UK and the Commonwealth it is a public holiday.

In the 9thcentury, unlike the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, the old Catalonia belonged to the Carolingian dynasty. This large empire in Western Europe also included West Germany and Northern Italy. Given the vast expanse of this empire, families were often separated by great distances. This meant that, in order to celebrate Christmas together, they would face long and treacherous journeys to and from their homes, often in adverse weather conditions and during the night. 

In this way, the Feast of Saint Stephen first came about in the Middle Ages as a day on which people didn’t have to return to work. In this way, families could spend Christmas night together and then travel back home the following day in the light of day and in much safer conditions – and, of course, after enjoying the leftovers from the Christmas day meal!

Even though it is possible that this day was first observed over a thousand years ago, nowadays, Saint Stephen’s day still holds a special place on the Catalan calendar. Not only is it an additional holiday, it also constitutes a day to be spent in the presence of other family members with whom it was perhaps not possible to spend the Christmas day meal.

What’s more, on the 26thDecember in Catalonia, it is typical to feast on canelons  – which are rumoured to have been introduced into Catalan cuisine by Italian chefs during the 19thcentury. This rich béchamel pasta dish is traditionally stuffed with the leftover meat from the Christmas day dinner. This centrepiece dish for Sant Esteve day meals ensures that no food goes to waste and is normally a huge hit with the entire family.

In the UK, Saint Stephen’s day is also a national holiday and is most commonly known as Boxing Day on account of the traditional sports matches held on this day. Is the 26thDecember a holiday in your country? Let us know how you will be celebrating Saint Stephen’s day this year.

Whatever your plans this festive season, from all of us at BizFlats, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

New Year’s Eve Parties in Barcelona, 2019-2020

Are you planning on spending the New Year in Barcelona and looking for a special way to ring in 2020? Then look no further; we’ve compiled a list of the best parties for you to celebrate the night away with your partner, friends or family.

For locals, the celebration starts at home with a family meal and the traditional eating of 12 grapes at midnight, before hitting the town. However, we’ve selected a range of events starting before and after midnight at restaurants, bars and clubs so you can find the best event for you.

So what are you waiting for, start planning a New Year you’ll never forget in the centre Barcelona!

New Year’s Eve Parties in Barcelona

Fireworks: Plaça Espanya, Av. María Cristina

Unlike other cosmopolitan cities, it was only in 2013 that the tradition of an official outdoor New Year’s event began in Barcelona. Now locals and visitors alike can wrap up and get together to be awed by a fantastic performance of fireworks and music! This family-friendly celebration is free and starts at 9.30 pm. 

Sutton: C/ Tuset, 13

Looking to spend the New Year in style? Then we have the place for you! With tickets starting from €50 (including 3 drinks) and VIP tables starting from €1,000, this New Year’s Eve the exclusive nightclub venue plays host to DJs and artists such as Juanpa Claret, Gerard Roig and Xavi Ques. 

Bling Bling: C/ Tuset, 8–10

One of the city’s most exclusive nightclubs offers you an unforgettable evening starting at 1 am. With a selection of DJs, the option of VIP tables and the best music, ring in the bells with your loved ones at home then get the party started. We’re sure you’ll dance the night away.

Gatsby: C/ Tuset, 19

This themed restaurant come nightclub will take you back to the 1920s. Enjoy an exquisite menu of local and international dishes plus nightlong entertainment with singers, dancers and much more. After dinner, grab a cocktail and hit the dance floor. This luxury space won’t disappoint!

Sala Apolo: C/ Nou de la Rambla, 107

From 01:00 to 05:30 you’ll have access to two exclusive events held at one of Barcelona’s most renowned nightclubs, with over 75 years of clubbing tradition. In the main room, enjoy Nitsa live electronic beats from Shelby Grey, DJ Kosmos and more. In room 2 or “La 2” discover Astin, Nitsa’s house and disco alternative. Early Bird tickets are only €25 – what are you waiting for!

Razzmatazz: C/ dels Almogàvers, 122

With five different rooms, Razzmatazz really does have something for everyone. Choose from two ticket types, with entry either from 22:30 or after midnight, including two drinks and a special edition T-shirt – plus grapes, party favours and cava if you choose to see in the New Year there. Tickets cost €54.50 or €44.50 respectively.

Pacha: Passeig Marítim Barceloneta, 38

Head to the Barcelona seafront to party the night away at Pacha, with a selection of Europe’s most famous DJs. As well as being a nightclub, the Pacha restaurant also offers a dinner right by the sea and includes entry to the club to the exclusive New Year party.

Poble Espanyol
Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13

Starting at 10.30 pm, discover a traditional Spanish street party in the centre of Barcelona at the Poble Espanyol. A standard ticket costing €40 (until December 26) will grant you access to three different outdoor spaces. Grab a VIP table with your friends and loved ones starting from €120. Tickets include four drinks, grapes and party favours.

Catwalk
Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2–4

Catwalk boasts the best of R&B and hip-hop music in an exclusive space located on the seafront. With a range of tickets starting from €30 right up to €3,500, enjoy three rooms, neon lights and an outdoor terrace.

Wherever you choose to celebrate the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we hope you have a blast!

12 Top Festes Majors in Barcelona

Have you ever been in Festes Majors in Barcelona? In this article we list the approximate dates of each festa major and how they are usually celebrated. (This year due to the Covid pandemic, each neighborhood proposes both virtual and in person activities. We recommend checking each official programme with the corresponding organisers).

Festes Majors in Barcelona

Our favorite Festes Majors in Barcelona

Festa Major de Sant Antoni

Dates: 17–26 January

2019 was this festival’s debut year, so we’re sure its second year will be an event not to be missed. Enjoy a range of activities centred around the neighbourhood’s recently renovated market.

Festes de Santa Eulàlia

Dates: 7–12 February

Coinciding with the day of former patron saint of Barcelona (12 February), expect to see the centre of Barcelona come alive with castellers (human towers) and an array of parades in her honour. Castellers is something that all the festes majors have in common and you will love it. It’s an amazing traditional experience!

Festa Major de la Sagrada Família

Dates: April–May

Experience this renowned Gaudí masterpiece with over a week of various events and activities suitable for all ages. 

Festa Major del Casc Antic

Dates: June

No one can deny that Barcelona’s old quarter has a unique charm – so why not discover its more traditional side. Head to Sant Pere and Santa Caterina i la Ribera to see castellers, parades of giant puppets and the modest sardanes dance.

Festa Major del Raval

Dates: June

In honour of the neighbourhood’s patron saint, this bright and colourful festival in the centre of Barcelona stands out thanks to its castellers and artisans selling local craft products.

Festa Major del Poble-sec

Dates: July

The festival of Poble-sec will take you on a journey through its most emblematic, local locations, from the Semblador square and the El Molino theatre. Be sure not to miss its blazing correfoc fire run.

Festa Major de Gràcia

Dates: 15–22August

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited of all the festes majors of Barcelona, discover how the streets of Gràcia are transformed by the local residents with decorations of every colour.

Festa Major de Sants

Dates: August–September

From concerts, decorations and correfocs, the Festa Major de Sants transforms this residential and professional district for a week of celebrations in honour of patron saint Bartholomew. 

Festa Major de Poblenou

Dates: 11–20 September 2020

One of the largest of the festivals with around 500 activities, this event is not to be missed. Discover the magnificent cercavila parade, sign up to run the 5 or 10 km race or take part in some of the artistic workshops that run alongside this celebration.

Festa Major de la Rambla

Dates: September

This special celebration of one of Barcelona’s most renowned landmarks sees the façades of its buildings decorated with fresh flowers. What’s more, museums in the area are free during these celebratory dates.

Festes de la Mercè

Dates: 18–24 September

In honour of the patron saint of Barcelona, the entire city comes together to celebrate with popular culture, live music, castellers, correfocs and much more. Les Festes de La Mercè is the main and biggest Festa Major in the city. There’s something for everyone at a range of locations throughout the city centre.

Festa Major de la Barceloneta

Dates: September

In this beachside festival that celebrates the best of one of Barcelona’s most traditional neighbourhoods. We recommend catching a havaneres concert (colonial songs sung by local groups) on the beach.

Is the festa major of your favourite neighbourhood missing? Don’t worry; very soon the entire list of festes majors in Barcelona will be published here, where you will also be able to check their exact locations on the map. 

We hope to see you there!

A Guide to Christmas Concerts in Barcelona

The nights are drawing in earlier, the mornings are chillier and soon lights of every colour will illuminate the streets of Barcelona. 

This can only mean one thing! Christmas is almost upon us.  And if you’re spending Christmas in Barcelona this year, we can recommend a different plan to ensure you make the most of time with your loved ones. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and preparing for the many family gatherings and meals, take some time out to enjoy a unique musical experiences.

christmas concerts in barcelona

We’ve compiled this short guide to concerts during the festive season for you to sit back and be regaled by local choirs and orchestras. What better way to get in the festive mood!

Christmas on Broadway

Where: L’Auditori

When: Friday 20 and Saturday, 21 December 2019

Join the Symphonic Orchestra of Barcelona on a journey through the musicals of Broadway in a fantastic gala show to kick off the festive season in style. With music from works by Rodgers and Hammerstein (2015), Lloyd Webber (2017) and Bernstein (2018), there’s something for everyone.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu

When: Saturday, 21 and Sunday, 22 December 2019

Enjoy this Christmas classic surrounded by loved ones. Music by Albert Guinovart together with Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Amics de la Unió children’s choir.

Star Wars & OCM: Original Soundtracks by John Williams

Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana

When: Thursday, 19 and Saturday, 21 December 2019

Relive some of John William’s most emblematic soundtracks from the big screen including Star Wars, E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List. We’re sure that you’ll laugh, cry and be entertained by the favourites of this renowned and prize-winning composer.

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci

Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu

When: Various dates from 5–22 December 2019

This December enjoy a unique double opera session of two acclaimed Royal Opera House productions. These two Italian classics set in the 1950s will be performed side by side in what is sure to be an epic evening of emblematic opera.

The Magic World of Hans Zimmer

Where: L’Auditori

When: Wednesday, 25 December 2019

What better way to spend the most magical day of the year than enjoying music from some of the most epic films of the century. From The Lion King, Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more, bring this special day to a close surrounded by your loved ones.

St. Stephen’s Choral Concert: Christmas at the Palau

Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana

When: Thursday, 26 December 2019

Take part in this festive tradition of Catalonia with this unique concert held every St. Stephen’s Day. The charming melodies of the Orfeó Català and a combination of choirs are sure to bring the whole family together in an enchanting venue.

If you’re spending Christmas season in Barcelona, we’re sure one of these magical concerts will make for an unforgettable experience with your loved ones.

Things you cant miss at La Mercè 2019

For another year running, the streets of Barcelona will be filled with music, activities and events galore during the city’s biggest celebration of the year. From 20 to 24 of September, La Mercè will take over the city together with this year’s special international guest, the city of Beirut.

With over 500 things to do for the whole family, we’ve compiled this small guideto ensure you don’t miss out on a thing!

Diades Castelleres (Human Towers)

In the biggest events of the year on the castellers calendar, Plaça Sant Jaume plays host to these spectacular Catalan human towers.

In this 50 th anniversary of the Castellers of Barcelona, don’t miss the best groups of the city battling it out from noon on Sunday 22 and Tuesday 24 to see who makes it to the top.

Correfocs

Head to Via Laietana on Saturday 21 from 6:30 pm onwards and you’ll be greeted by giants and devils. Although it may sound like a fairytale, these are two Catalan traditions that are not to be missed.

Watch how these enormous giant-like figures are paraded through the city centre and let yourself be amazed at the jaw-dropping fire run in this fabulous display of colourful sparks.

Live music concerts

La Mercè is synonymous with music and this year is no exception. With three musical programmes underway – BAM (Barcelona Acció Musical) Mercè Música, y BAM Cultura Viva – there is sure to be something for everyone. From the old Estrella Damm factory, Plaça Catalunya and MACBA to various beach locations, there will be almost 100 open-air concerts for all to enjoy completely for free.

Museum open days

In addition to all the festivities and celebrations, many of Barcelona’s museums open to the public completely free of charge on Tuesday 24, the official day of La Mercè.

From the National Museum of Catalunya and the Castle of Montjuic to the CCCB Cultural Center and the Museum of Modern Art, be sure to snap up this unique chance to discover the history and culture of Barcelona.

Town hall mapping

In celebration of “Any Brossa” (the Year of Brossa), the façade of Barcelona’s town hall will come alive with art. Discover the creative world of this renowned Catalan poet, playwright and visual artist in a 3D projection from 20–24 September.

Cursa de La Mercè

Unlike other years, this annual race will be held after La Mercè celebrations. Grab your trainers and set out on this emblematic 10-km run around the city that starts on Avinguda de Maria Cristina. Sign up here

Piromusical

This traditional Piromusical show concludes the celebrations in a grand mix of music and fireworks. This year tribute will be paid to the Beatles, the Liceu Theatre and Glenn Miller. The event will also welcome typical music from Beirut as the guest city of La Mercè 2019. Don’t miss this free feast for the eyes and ears on 24 September at 9 pm, Avinguda de Maria Cristina.

What’s more, on Sunday 22, the city will respect the global “Car-free Day” with Via Laietana and Gran de Gràcia giving priority to cyclists and public transport. Join everyone in raising awareness about reducing pollution in the city.

See Barcelona in all its splendour and take part in the celebrations with locals and tourists alike. Check out the official programme here where you will find listings for the four days of the festival. And so you don’t miss any of the action, book with bizflats.com to find the ideal apartment for your stay.