La Mercè is the festa major or main festivity of Barcelona and it’s celebrated on the 24th of September. However, there is a program full of activities and events that take place during 4 days. The main topic is the popular Catalan tradition.
History of La Mercè
The Council of Barcelona named her patron saint to the Virgin of La Mercè after suffering a plague in 1687. However, the Pope didn’t make it official until 1868. Then, Barcelona began to celebrate the festival in September but it wasn’t until 1902 that La Mercè Festival took off properly. Due to the Civil War and the dictatorship of Franco, the celebration suffered many ups and downs until democracy.
The Festival NOW
Today, La Mercè is the biggest and most popular festival in the city because of its different activities, events and concerts.
The program is based on the popular culture of Catalonia. However, the festivity also includes international events because of the city’s multicultural population.
Some of these popular Catalan events are the Gironese Sardana, the Castellers or the Correfoc. Both adults and kids are welcome to join!
The program begins on the 21st of September and ends on the 24th. All activities are on during all the day (morning, evening and night). Some of the activities are the Giants of the City, the Dragons and Fire Beasts or the Popular processions.
There’s also an opening parade and speech, reggae, hip-hop or rumba concerts, DJ’s, acrobatic or puppet shows, theater plays, circus performances, games and art exhibitions. You can also participate in the Beach Rugby or football tournaments, dancing competitions, workshops or Fitness classes.There’s also audiovisual projections like the City Hall mapping and a lot of art exhibitions in the streets and in most museums.
Some of the top attractions in Barcelona also offer their own event during La Mercè. El Liceu offers special Opera concerts and the Maritime Museum organizes different popular Catalan sports.
For those who prefer food and drinks best rather than taking part in an activity, the Joan Maragall Gardens, Montjuïc, Parc de la Ciutadella or Parc de la Trinitat will be full of Food Trucks.
The STAR of the whole festival is the International Pyrotechnic show at Barceloneta Beach on the 21st and 22nd at night. Finally, another important event is the Piromusical in Plaça Espanya. Fire, color and music come together to close the festival on the 24th of September.
Celebrating La Mercè is a way of getting to know the Catalan culture and tradition and above all, having fun.
Most of the museums in Barcelona will offer a free entrance to permanent and temporary exhibitions on the 24th of September as it’s a Holiday day.
Book a flight for September and take advantage of the festival!