LIVE BARCELONA FROM PARTY TO PARTY
Religious, pagan, national and neighbourhood festivals are the best way to know the culture and tradition of a place and live them from the inside is an experience. Understanding the customs that people have, what it is that celebrates and feel that festive energy of verbenas is something you must experience.
That’s why here we leave you the most important parties in Barcelona, so you can plan your next trip. So keep your calendar at hand and mark the dates!
During the 5th and 6th of January the whole family prepares in Barcelona, and it is that the Reyes Magos arrive, along with their pages, comparsas and floats. The Three Kings’ Cavalcade starts at the port, because they have been sailing by boat from far away. When disembarking, the mayor gives them the keys of the city so they can enter all the houses, to give gifts to the children who were good. If you behaved well, you will receive sweets at the parade!
The Carnival has arrived! Between February 28th and March 6th, Barcelona is full of characters, music and color. The activities begin in La Rambla with a parade led by their majesties, Belluga and Tòtil Tocatdelala, the kings of the party. Throughout the week you will have activities in all neighbourhoods, both for children and adults: workshops, parades, popular paellas, traditional activities and much more.
The carnival symbolises the principle of Lent and ends with the “burial of the sardine”, which marks the beginning of the time of prudence.
Legend tells that a great dragon frightened the people of Montblanc and to calm him down, the villagers fed him by giving a person, who was chosen by lottery. Unfortunately it was the princess’s turn, but when she was going to be devoured, a knight in white steed and shining armor saved her, stuck his sword in the dragon and from the drops of blood dropped to the earth, the reddest roses were born. The gentleman, triumphant, gave one to the princess.
This brave man was Sant Jordi, patron of Catalonia, and it is because of this romantic feat that he is known as the equivalent of Saint Valentine.
On April 23 you will see how the streets of Barcelona are filled with books and roses, as tradition dictates that women give books to men and they, in turn, roses to women. They do not need to be in love and, today, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, you could receive either of these two traditional gifts.
A beautiful view is offered by Casa Batlló, in its architecture Gaudí wanted to represent this legend. You can see how the roof resembles the dragon’s body, with its scales, and how the cross evokes the sword of Sant Jordi; on the top floor you will see a flower-shaped balcony, which symbolizes the princess; the other balconies and their columns would be the bones and skulls of all the sacrificed villagers to calm the beast.
For its part, on April 27, the patron saint of Catalonia, the Virgin of Montserrat, is celebrated. Although it is a celebration of the entire region, we recommend you go to the Monastery dedicated to the Virgin, in the town of Montserrat, 60 km from Barcelona. Throughout the region you can enjoy endless activities, popular dances such as sardana, castells or human towers, and much more.
From June 23 to 24, the night of San Juan is celebrated, a christian holiday, but with a pagan origin, in which bonfires are lit throughout the city and its beaches, firecrackers are thrown, fireworks and “Coca de San Juan” is eaten, a very traditional sweet, made with candied fruit and pine nuts.
It all starts in the Sant Jaume square, where the “llama of the Canigó” is received by the authorities and the Giants of the city, which will light the fires throughout Barcelona. Activities and festivals are organized in all the neighborhoods of Barcelona, you just have to find yours. We recommend you go to the fires on the beach, because we have a younger spirit!
We must be honest, August is the best month to visit Barcelona! Parties, food, dancing, cinema, workshops, typical activities, decorated streets and much, but much more.
The Barrio Gótico is one of the oldest in Barcelona and it is where the San Roque Festival takes place, on August 16th, in the Plaza Nueva.
Legend has it that the saint became ill with plague when he arrived at the city and that he took refuge in the roman walls. The local baker’s dog was the only one who helped him, bringing bread rolls every day. That is why these animals have a particular place in the celebration, as well as the San Roque buns.
One of the most popular and expected celebrations during the second half of this month is the Fiesta Mayor de Gràcia, which has been surprising tourists for more than 2 centuries and bringing together all the residents of Barcelona. And there are so many activities that we must leave an article just for it. What we can tell you is that you should not miss the correfoc or the castells. You’re going to love it!
Very similar is the Fiesta Mayor de Sants and that begins right after the Gràcia ones. The neighbours decorate the streets, workshops are organised and you can enjoy the typical traditions of Catalonia such as giants, castellers and devils, you can also see the dance of San Bartolomé, patron of this neighbourhood, in which roman soldiers, angels and a demon participate.
On September 11, the National Festival of Catalonia is commemorated, a tribute to its traditions and culture. Despite being defeated by the Bourbons in 1714, after 14 months of siege, that day the Catalans celebrate their martyrs, who fought to maintain their identity and institutions.
That day the streets are filled with flags with red and yellow ribbons, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia and the Museu d’Història de Catalunya open their doors for free and the cultural centres in the Born district organise activities related to Catalan folklore, sardanas are danced and the Castells rise, an impressive tradition that will leave you holding your breath.
And because the patron saint of Barcelona deserves it all, on September 24 they are the Fiestas de La Merce, a 5-day celebration that turns everyone from Barcelona to the street, dances are sardanas, there are giant parades around the city, events sports, correfoc and much more.
We all know that this month is special, the streets are decorated for Christmas, the mangers begin to appear in different streets and churches, there are concerts and operas. If you want to celebrate Christmas as a catalan, you must try the typical dishes, the “escudella de pavo” and the torrons.
The New Year celebration is something else! Here we like to have fun, some go out dressed in the streets, as if it were a carnival and the 12 grapes are never missing, one for each month, which you should eat when the clock announces the last 12 seconds of the year.
As you can see, in Barcelona we don’t lack the reasons to celebrate, be it history, old traditions or religious holidays, here we know how to have fun. So choose your month well, to live Barcelona from the inside and not miss any of its parties.
ARTICLE CREDITS: FERNANDA HIDALGO FUENTES