La Mercè, which celebrates the city’s patron saint (the Virgin of Mercy) from the 22nd to 25th of September, is Barcelona’s biggest festival and arguably one of the finest ways to experience Catalan culture. Legend states that a year after saving Barcelona from a plague of locust in 1687, the Virgin of Mercy was canonised and has been celebrated ever since. This spectacular festival, which officially first took place in 1902, marks the end of summer with a series of unmissable events at venues across the city. Here are just some of the festival’s highlights.
- Opening and Closing Ceremonies of La Mercè
Get into La Mercè spirit at the opening ceremony held at Plaça Sant Jaume where visitors will be treated to a show with giants and monsters dancing on stage. The end of La Mercè is marked by the Piromusical grand finale by the Magic Fountain at the foot of Montjuïc. Piromusical: 25th September, 22:00, Reina Maria Cristina Avenue.
Plaça de Sant Jaume plays host to one of La Mercè’s most popular and impressive events, the Castellers (human towers) in which groups of Castellers compete to build the highest possible human tower, which is subsequently climbed by a child. 24th September 12:30
Els Gegants (giants parade) is another event ideally pitched for families and features huge effigies of Kings and Queens marching through the streets, often to the sounds of small percussion groups. 24th September 11:00, Plaça de Sant Jaume.
- Sardana Dance and Ball de Bastons
No Catalan festival would be complete without Sardana dancing. This traditional dance reflects Catalan unity and pride and can be witnessed in front of the Cathedral on 22nd September at 19,00. Head to Plaça de Sant Jaume on 23rd and you can also witness the Ball de Bastons (stick dance). This folk dance, similar to Morris dancing found in England and Wales, is conducted in row formation with dancers carrying one or two sticks.
- Correfoc for adults and kids
In the evenings, the city is lit up with a famous projection show repeated at various intervals at Plaça de Sant Jaume. One of La Mercè’s most thrilling events is the Correfoc (fire runs). Certainly not for the feint-hearted, the Correfoc features community groups dressed as devils who run the streets of Barcelona with hand-held fireworks and bangers, accompanied by fire-breathing dragons. If you plan on attending the ‘adult’ Correfoc, held after the more harmless junior event, protective clothing is advisable as some fireworks are hurled directly at the crowds! 25th September,Via Laietana, junior event 18:30, adult event 20:30
You can check the whole program of La Mercè 2016 where you will find hundreds of activities.
If you are planning to come to Barcelona during La Mercè and you are looking for an apartment in Barcelona, do not hesitate to check our website