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Catalan folklore

La Mercè Festival Barcelona, The ultimate celebration!

Written by James

The Festes de la Mercè is the biggest annual festival held Barcelona. The festival is in honour of The Lady of Mercy who is the patron Saint of Barcelona. The festival is held in September every year and include; gigantes (giant parade), fire run, castellers (human towers), projection show and the sardana (a folk dance). If you wish to take part in this spectacular event you need to book your Barcelona vacation rental well in advance.

The festival procedures and parades can also be viewed from the balconies of Barcelona apartments if you just want to watch from afar.

If you are considering a vacation rental ensure that you rent a flat in Barcelona that is close to the festival areas, as the masses commuting to and from the events will create extreme levels of travel congestion.

The Legend

According to the legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to knight called Pere Nolasc; during this appearance, she asks him to create a sacred order of monks that acts in her name. The night bid her task and formed the Order of the Merced or order of Mercy in 1218. The order ransomed poor Christians from pirates that have taken them as prisoners during the wars that resulted from the Crusades.

In 1687, centuries later the Lady saved Barcelona from a locust plague; she was named the patron saint of Barcelona and the Basilica La Mercè was named after her. The festival started after the locust plague was destroyed and have been held ever since. The locusts have never returned since.

The festival

The festival starts with a parade of big headed mythical figures from medieval Barcelona. The figures perform to the sounds of a group of traditional minstrels. The giant’s parade is followed by traditional dances and ended off with the correfoc of fire run.

In the fire run groups of demons escapes from hell and are chased back there again. Almost 80 000 fireworks are used in the fire run and it is advised that you wear protection and firework proof clothing. There is also a human tower building show off as part of the Barcelona La Mercè Festival.

About the author


James is a passionate writer in love with the beautiful city of Barcelona.

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