Tourist Information Guide

La Mercè Festival in Barcelona  2014 . Overview, Main Events and Program

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Catalan Dancing
Catalan dancing: otherwise known as the Sardana
Every year close to the end of September Barcelona holds its largest street party, the Barcelona La Mercè Festival.

The  festival schedule of events is only announced in the first or second week in September. However the actual date for La Mercè day is on the 24th September. The events however can occur either side of this date. This makes planning a trip for a visitor to the city difficult. You will only have 2 weeks notice before the actual event before the calendar is released. Unfortunately until the schedule is officially released you will not know which side of the 24 September the events will take place.

This page will give you the low-down on what is probably the highlight of Barcelona's festival calendar.


Barcelona Cathedral night illumination
Barcelona Cathedral night illumination during Festes de La Mercè

 


Mercè program schedule of events

The program of events for La Mercè is not released until the first or second week in September each year. We will post it here as soon as it is available.


La Mercè history

Drummer parades along Via Latiana during Corre Foc (Fire run)
Night parades along the Via Laietana at the celebrations

Barcelona La Mercè lasts for around 5 days and is a festival held in honour of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona.

The festival, which officially first took place in 1902, bids goodbye to the summer with a bang and welcomes in the cooler months of autumn.

Dates for La Mercè 2014

The program of events has not yet been released. Bookmark this page. We will post it as soon as it is released.


Leave your car!

The streets will be filled with events, parades, fire runs (Correfoc)- and people! So it's highly advisable that you don't consider hiring a car if you intend to use it in the city centre during the time of the festival.

There are hundreds of activities that will be occurring in the Mercè Festival this year however there are some "staple events" that are now famous at the festival.


La Mercè Highlights

Here are the details of some of the main events at the festival:


Correfoc - Fire Run

correfoc and devils in the streets of Barcelona
Correfoc - fire run

Location: Via Laietana

 

Fire-breaking dragon spraying sparkers into the crowds
Fire-breathing dragon spraying sparkers into the crowd

If you are going to experience the Correfoc it is highly advisable to take protective clothing because often powerful sparkler fireworks are sprayed into the crowds. People should bring hats, protective glasses and thick long sleeved tops that will protect you from the flying sparklers.

There is normally 2 types of Correfoc on the same evening. One of them is for the children and is a lot more tame than the "adult" Correfoc which happens later on in the evening

The Correfoc event takes place at dusk. Normally along and around Via Laietana. The road will be closed off and then opens to "The Devils".

corre foc devils
Correfoc devils

The Devils are special community groups that dress up like devils and parade the streets during certain festivals in Barcelona. La Mercè is one such event. The devils run up the streets with bangers and hand held fireworks. Lots of bangs and fire is the order of the day. Fire breathing dragons (or at least sparkler-breathing dragons) also roam the streets with Devils skipping along with spiralling fireworks held in their hands.

Devils dancing in the streets of Barcelona
Correfoc - Devils dancing in the streets

The "adult" Correfoc takes place after the "junior" Correfoc. The main difference with the adult event is that the crowds are actually sprayed with flames from the sparklers. If you are of a nervous disposition then maybe you should consider standing well back from the Correfoc itself.

A demon preparing a fire weapon
Demon preparing a "fire weapon"

More information on the pyrotechnics and fireworks display at the La Mercè.


Castellers Human towers
Castellers: human towers

Castellers - Human Towers

Location: Plaça de Sant Jaume

This event is one of the highlights of the Mercè festival and takes place in Plaça de Jaume. Thousands of people will pack out the square so it is worth arriving early. The aim of the Castellers is to build a human tower and have a young child climb to the very top of the tower and stand up. It requires a tremendous amount of planning and teamwork to build a human tower and it is quite an amazing sight to see. See this page for more information on the Castellers in Barcelona.


The Gigantes - The giants parade is popular with the kids
The Gigantes - the giants parade is popular with kids

Gigantes (Giants Parade)

Giants Parade in Barcelona
Giants Parade

Location: Plaça St Jaume

The Giants parade is a very popular event for the whole family. Huge giants with effigies of kings, queens and nobles march through the streets. These huge figures tower above the crowds and spin around and around so the crowds can see them in all their glory. The Parade is often accompanied by small percussion groups that beat out a rhythm on drums as the Giants go by.

Projection Show

In Plaça St Jaume there is the famous projection show during the evenings where images are projected either onto the side of one of the buildings in the square. The show has a repeated viewing each evening and is free for anyone to attend.

Projection show at Plaça St Jaume at the La Mercè Festival in Barcelona
Projection show in Plaça St Jaume

 

La Mercè will have something for everyone, music, street performances, drama in thousands of venues across the city. Join in the fun with Barcelona's biggest party of the year.

La Mercè official website


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