Spain is the nation of the ‘Fiesta’, so unsurprisingly Catalonia has a jam-packed social calendar throughout the year. With fourteen official public holidays, visitors can experience Catalonia’s infectious jovial atmosphere all year round.
Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona is no exception with one of the busiest social calendars in Spain, offering a variety of festivals and events. Barcelona’s most celebrated event – the legendary La Merce Festival offers a combination of great music, traditional activities from all over Catalonia, an impressive fireworks display, parades and many more surprises. The La Merce Festival began in 1902 to honor the Patron Saint of Barcelona- Mare de Deu de la Merce. Another key reason for this big celebration is to wish an official goodbye to the warm summer and welcome the autumn season.
During the festival of La Merce, visitors can witness one of Catalan’s more unique traditions – ‘Castells’. This is where human towers of up to 9 ‘floors’ are created through teamwork and courage, originally originating in the Tarragona region of Catalonia. This video shows Castells at their best…don’t try this at home!
Amongst the human towers, a number of other activities take place including a parade and extensive firework display where the sky glows ‘gold and scarlet’ , ‘correfoc’ where fire breathing dragons are enacted to wander around the streets and the BAM festival, known as one of the biggest parties of the year.
La Merce only skims the surface of Catalonia’s festivals and events, with many more sporting, cultural and foodie ones around. Watch this space for more.