The city festivals are what makes Barcelona. The streets are booming with locals celebrating their much-loved traditions and tourists observing in awe. Throughout the year there is always a Saint to honour, a tradition to revive or a new season to welcome.
23rd April ,
Both Catalunya and England share the same Patron Saint: Saint George the dragon slayer. This event goes beyond a religious festival. Sant Jordi is Catalunya’s answer to Valentine’s day but without the Hallmark greeting card company. The idea is that a man gives his love a rose while the woman returns his gesture with a book (the day falls on world book day). The streets are lined with stalls selling books of all genres catering to every taste.
Nit De Sant Joan, 23rd June
Watch the whole city light up at the festival de Sant Juan. This day combines both the Summer Solstice and Sant Juan for one of the biggest party on the calendar. Nit De Sant Joan makes New Years Eve 1999 seem like a rainy Sunday afternoon at your grandmothers house.
The celebrations usually begin around sunset and goes on until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re wondering where the celebrations take place, it’s everywhere. Each barrio of the city organises street parties, usually featuring fireworks, bonfires, and the infamous correfoc or fire run. The atmosphere in the streets is electric, but head on down to the beach where the main celebrations are at. Take note that you have to get there early if you want to get a good place because the beaches fill up fast.
Grec, 1st – 31st July
Each year, Grec’s programme bursts at the seams with the most innovative events taking place in numerous venues through out the city. Last year the festival opened with a free performance by La Fura Dels Baus, the Catalan acrobatic theatre group. The Grec festival borrows its name from the open air Teatre Grec on Montjuïc, which is the main stage of the festival.
Festa Major de Gràcia, 15th – 24th August
Make your way to the quaint barrio Gràcia for the city’s colourful and creative festival. Residents of Gràcia come together to decorate their respective streets. The neighbours select a theme and compete for the title of the most creative and original street decor. There are music acts, street food and events for the family during the festival, but keep in mind that the lights usually turn off around 1pm.
La Mercè, 18th – 24th September
The festivities last around five days when the city honours the Patron Saint, Mare de Deu La Mercé. This is an opportunity to experience some of Catalunya’s best traditions such as the human towers, also known as Castells. There is the light show at Plaça Sant Jaume, the correfoc that runs the length of Via Laietana and the spectacular fireworks show at Barcelonetta beach. The list of activities and events is endless and you are sure to bump into some giant floating heads (gegants i capgrossos) on your adventure.