Once it is summer, there are many fiestas mayores in Catalan municipalities and neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood of Raval in the centre of the city is no exception, so soon, we will be able to enjoy the fiesta mayor there. This historic neighbourhood in Barcelona, which is one of the most touristic areas of the Catalan capital, celebrates these annual festivities as a means to get familiar with Catalan customs and traditions. But above all, it is a week with plenty of fun and activities for all ages. If you would like to know more about the fiesta mayor, don’t miss this article by ShBarcelona.
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Enjoy fiesta mayor in Raval
The Fiesta Mayor of Raval is organised by the Asociación de Vecinos del Carme (or the Carme Neighbourhood Association), and thanks to them, we can enjoy a multitude of activities for every age and for people with many different interests: music, habaneras, children’s activities, meals with neighbours that take place in the street, theatre, giants, devils, castellers (human castles), sports competitions and even a roller-skate race, that has become well-known in recent years. The fiesta mayor has taken place in Raval since 1983 and it also promotes local shops in the neighbourhood, with many craftsmen stalls displaying different products. The festival is celebrated in honour of the Virgen del Carmen, who is the patron saint of the most important parish in this neighbourhood. This year fiesta mayor will take place from 11 to 16 July, as it always takes place during the week before the weekend of 16 July, when the Virgen del Carmen is commemorated. Besides the Carme Neighbourhood Association, there are many other associations from Raval that take part in the fiesta. And there is not only the fiesta mayor in July, because there is also the Fiestas Alternativas del Raval (the Alternative Raval Festival) that take place. These unique and special festivities will be celebrated at the same time as the traditional festivities. The fiesta mayor of Raval is one of the most important festivities in Barcelona, and this is largely thanks to the collaboration of many multicultural associations from all over the world.
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The festivities will start on Thursday the 11th, at Plaça Vicenç Martorell. After the official beginning of fiesta mayor, there will be a parade along some of the neighbourhood streets, starring the giants Ramón and Lola, the gigantic Quimeta Àngels and the dwarf Manolito. At the end of the route, there will be a dance by all the parade participants. You will also be able to witness els bouets i la vaqueta (oxen and cow), which are some of the most important imaginary figures in Raval. One of the most interesting events of the fiesta mayor of Raval is the habanera songs performed on the Rambla del Raval. And if you go to the fiesta with children, special children’s workshops will be organised at the Maritime Museum. There will also be movies, zarzuela singing, Catalan folk dances, cultural activities, painting workshops, parades by bastoners (men with ritual weapons), performances by castellers, as well as cultural gastronomic experiences, that demonstrate the multicultural character of this neighbourhood in a perfect way. Many museums, theatres and institutions in the area of the fiesta mayor offer free admission and organise guided tours. Some of these locations are Palau Güell, the Maritime Museum, the CCCB, the monastery of Sant Pau del Camp and the Liceu.
Have you visited the fiesta mayor in Raval before? What did you think?