La Mercè, Barcelona’s biggest local fiesta
24 September is an important date in Barcelona’s calendar. It is the city’s Festa Major with festivities in honor of its patron saint, the Verge de la Mercè (the Virgin of Mercy) . The streets of the city fill up with Barcelonans and visitors alike, all soaking up the atmosphere and taking part in a multitude of activities.
You can visit most the city’s museums and landmark buildings free of charge. Enjoy the festivities as a family with circus acts and puppet shows and parades involving dragons and fiery monsters, particularly appealing to children.
Pop-rock is, without doubt, the overriding genre for BAM, the Mercè’s music festival, with an impressive program of concerts playing at venues such as the Old Estrella Damm Brewery, the Plaça dels Àngels, Rambla del Raval etc. The Moll de la Fusta, Parc del Fòrum and the Catedral Square also host performances of a wide variety of musical styles.
Regular features of the fiesta include parades of the giants and their attendant capgrossos (big heads) through the city, a tradition that goes back to the 15th century; the correfoc, groups of demons that flood the city center streets with sparks, firework flashes and smoke; and the human tower builders or castelleres, with groups from all over Catalonia, filling the Plaça Sant Jaume.
The Ciutadella Park is filled with dance, theater and audiovisual shows suitable for every age group. Lisbon, this year’s invited city for the Mercè 2018, will be using the area to put on various performances to showcase its artistic scene.
For sports lovers, the Mercé Race is also a tradition. This year’s race, open to the public, is the 40th running of this popular event. And the closing event is the highly anticipated Piromusical at the Fountains of Montjuïc, a firework display set to specially selected music that lights up the night sky of Barcelona.
Come to the Mercè 2018!
When: September 21-24.
Copyright image: Espai d’Imatge.