Every year close to the end of September Barcelona holds its largest street party, the Barcelona La Mercè Festival.
|Correfoc - Devils dancing in the streets|
This page will give you the low-down on what is probably the highlight of Barcelona's festival calendar.
|Barcelona Cathedral night illumination during Festes de La Mercè|
Dates for La Mercè 2015
The dates for the festival for 2015 are not officially announced yet but occur around 24 September.
not officially announced yet but occur around 24 September
|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.
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.
Here are the details of some of the main events at the festival:
|Correfoc - fire run|
Location: Via Laietana
|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".
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.
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.
|Demon preparing a "fire weapon"|
|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 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 kids|
Location: Plaça St Jaume
The Giants parade is a 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.
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 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.