For those looking to learn more about the rich culture of Spain, and more specifically the region of Catalonia, Barcelona is the place to be this summer. On every Saturday of July, August, and October, the streets around the famous Barcelona Cathedral will become the stage for Festa Catalana (The Catalan Festival). Showcasing a great wealth of regional traditions, this small festival seeks not only to celebrate popular culture among the locals, but also to share it with the many tourists that visit the city of Barcelona during the summer.
Related article: El Caganer: an unusual Catalan tradition
Events will always start after sunset and will include parades, dance groups and plenty of regional music. Each session will feature a mix of different aspects of Catalan popular culture, with some shows being dedicated to specific themes. The full schedule might be confusing to look at if you’re a foreigner, so here’s what you should expect:
Giants and big-heads – Called gegants i capgrossos in Catalan, these are costumed figures, normally dressed according to a theme. These will be a major feature in most of the Catalan Festival parades.
Human Towers – Casteller groups will showcase all their strength and coordination skills with traditional human towers. Be ready to be amazed.
A lot of folk-dancing – Traditional folk groups will bring a lot of dancing to the event – shepperdess dances, gypsy dances, stick dancing… you get the idea – there will be a lot of dancing, often accompanied by live music groups.
Choir groups – Because not all music needs to make you dance, there’s also time for the pastoral qualities of traditional choral groups.
Animal-folklore bestiary – Traditional Catalan fables will be performed in living colour.
Overall, the environment will be one of joyous celebration, so if that’s the case, turn your frown upside down and join this uplifting celebration of ancient traditions – plus, it’s sure to be a hit for you on Instagram.
Most celebrations will take place at Avinguda de la Catedral, with some happening just about 100 metres away at Plaça Nova. These are located in the famous gothic quarter and easily accessible from anywhere in Barcelona. If you choose to go by metro, use the yellow line (L4) and exit at the Jaume I station. If you’d rather take the bus, lines 17, 19, 45 and N8 will all lead you to Via Laietana, where you should exit.
This is pretty much all we can tell you – the rest needs to be experienced live. Join the Catalan Festival this summer in Barcelona, enrich your cultural knowledge and most of all, have a lot of fun!