Barcelona Skyline

Friday, 18 September 2009

Barcelona's biggest party: la Mercè

There is excitement in the Barcelona air September 23-27. The city celebrates her “biggest party”, la Festa de la Merce, in honor of Barcelona’s patron saint, Mare de Deu de la Merce (the mother of God of Mercy.)This is street partying at its very best, so come on down and visit us.

It all started in the 13th century when "La Merce" appeared to a local priest and the king encouraging them to found a new order to help the victims of the Barbary pirates. Fast forward four centuries and she appears again, this time to save Barcelona from a plague of locusts. In appreciation the City Council declares her the patron saint of Barcelona

Nowadays Barcelona pulls out all the stops to honour her patron saint and the result is a street festival par excellence. Here are a few of the traditions that simply cannot be missed. You have papier mache giants called gegants and capgrossos (giants and big heads) parading through the streets of the old town.

Then in public squares of the old part of town you come across the iconic castells, giant human pyramids usually topped by a young child. Coveted prizes go to the highest of these human towers. At night is when things get a little wild with the carrefoc and Devil’s Night. Throughout the streets sprightly, seductive females devils parade; fire-breathing dragons dance to drums; an army of damned souls follow monsters out of the city as Barcelona purges herself of evil.

If you prefer calmer night-time activity go to the base of Montjuic where you have a pyromusical, a spectacular display of synchronized fireworks, water fountains, and music.

Calmer still there is the monster Catalonian Wine Fair featuring wines from all over, a marathon race, and an independent music festival.

There is something for everyone. This is really a special time in Barcelona, so come on down and join the fun.It’s all free and it’s all in the street and all close to the Hotel Principal.

No comments: