In late September the capital of Catalunya celebrates the biggest street party of the year: La Mercè, which is a celebration in honor of our Lady of Mercy, the patron saint of Barcelona. This celebration goes from the 20th to the 24th of September.
History of La Mercè
It all started in 1867, when the city of Barcelona suffered the effects of a locusts’ plague. Legend has it that was our Lady of Mercy who saved the city by getting rid of the insects. From that moment the Mare de Deu de la Mercè was named as the patron saint of Barcelona.
San Joan is famous for its bonfires and La Mercè for its Correfocs . Without Correfocs there wouldn’t be any La Mercè festival and without La Mercè festival there wouldn’t be any correfoc. Following the beat of drums and the light of fireworks, everyone tours the city while witnessing great street performances to which, by the way, you should come well prepared: some people even wear fireproof suits for the occasion. It is important to wear hats, goggles and long sleeve to protect yourself against skin burns. The so-called diablos are the groups who dress like demons and parade with fireworks on their hands. The tour goes from Porta Cambo to Consolat de Mar, passing through Plaza de Antoni Maura, Via Laietana and Antoni López Square. This is the festival of lights because, although it is celebrated during the night, the fireworks illuminate the city.
During this time of the year, authentic human castles are raised in Plaza de Sant Jaume. This is one of the most attractive activities for tourists. Without harnesses or protective nets, families practice the entire year to make a perfect human tower during La Mercè. This is a teamwork that has to be done in the most careful way. This activity requires great concentration, because a single failure could injure many people.
The Giants Parade
The parade goes from the Plaza de la Merced to the Cathedral and Plaza de Sant Jaume. This is an ideal activity for the whole family, in which at the rhythm of music, giant Kings, queens and nobles parade through the streets of Barcelona. This is an explosion of color that attracts children and adults. If you have never seen something like this, you won’t want to miss it. Wear a traditional costume and enjoy this parade.
Many artists take advantage of this festival time to exhibit their works in the best galleries and museums, because during that week the city is always full of visitors, so it is easier to attract more public. Casa Batlló, Fundació Cultural Privada Rocamora, Real Club de Polo de Barcelona, European Museum of Modern Art and even the very City hall are some of the places where the exhibition week will take place.
Music will be played non-stop for almost 5 days in a row in the following hot spots of the city: Parc del Fòrum, Plaça Joan Corominas, Plaça Real, Plaça dels Àngels and the former Estrella Damm factory. These places will be the perfect scenarios for a great macro concert, which each year attracts thousands of people. Some of the bands that you’ll have the chance to see at this concert are: Love of Lesbian, Howlin Rain, Joan Colomo, L´Hereu Escampa, The Dream Sindícate, La Iaia, Lidia Damunt, Los Punsetes, Isaac Ulam, Maria Rodés, McEnroe, Meneo, Kap Bambino, Sonny and The Sunsets and The Kooks.
Are you going to spend a few days in Barcelona? Here you will find the perfect Barcelona accommodation apartments for your vacations. Are you going to miss la Mercè?