Have you ever visited Barcelona, the modern, cosmopolitan and avant-garde Spanish city, during the month of September? If you haven’t done so, then you must surely book cheap flights to Barcelona today and visit the city in September this year.
With the official end of summer, Barcelona will be bracing to celebrate its biggest festival Fiesta de La Mercè from September 19 to 24, 2014. The city will be ready to welcome thousands of tourists from Spanish cities and other parts of the world with its gorgeous weather and festivity in the air. The festival is celebrated during this month every year to honor the “Virgin de La Merce”, one of Barcelona’s patron-saints. The festival offers a great opportunity to all those who want to get insight and enjoy the best of Catalan traditions.
Before knowing all that this festival has to offer, it will be appropriate to first get an insight into the origin of this festival. According to the local legend, locusts terribly plagued the city of Barcelona in 1687. The city burghers felt traumatized and sought the dire help of the Virgin of La Mercè. She finally responded to the pleas of local residents and the plague ended. She was credited with this amazing feat. It was in the year 1868 that the Pope accorded the Virgin of La Mercè the status of the patron saint of the city. Three years later the city declared a holiday on September 24. It was only in the year 1902 that the festival was celebrated for the first time throughout the city. Ever since, the Fiesta de La Mercè is being celebrated regularly with all the important elements of a modern festival including gegants, sardanas and castellers.
The Fiesta de La Mercè has now become the biggest festival in Barcelona attracting not only the locals but also other people as well from various other places in Spain and from across the world. For more than a century now, the festival has heralded the onset of autumn in the city.
Today, the festival is celebrated for four days bringing razzmatazz and camaraderie all around. The main festival will be taking place on September 24. The festival will be packed with activities of all kinds for people of all walks of life and ages. It’s sheer delight attending the festival with plenty of music and dance performances, sports events and fantastic firework displays making you thoroughly overjoyed. The major highlight of the festival will be a parade of the giants taken in processions through the city’s streets by the people. This is also one of the finest moments for you and scores of people to savor “Cava” or Catalonia’s ‘own’ champagne.
Presented here are some of the major highlights of the Fiesta de La Mercè being held in September this year.
Castells or Human Towers
The incredible human towers or “Castells” are the major highlight of this festival. “Castells” means castles in the Catalan language. “Castellers” are those people who take part in the formation of the human towers, which is incredibly up to 10 floors high. A number of people take part in the formation of towers in shape of a pyramid after climbing on top of each other with a child at the highest level raising a hand. The music is played at the backdrop while the human tower is constructed. The castellers are provided the crucial information about the stage they are at with the change of music tune. The tower is complete after a child reaches at the top and raises his hand. This is followed by loud cheering from the people. The process is complete after the tower is deconstructed floor by floor amid loud cheer. This event will take place on September 24 at Placa Sant Jaume square. It will be good if you bring a sun hat as the square will be hot and crowded with people.
Gegants or Giants, Beasts & Dragons
It’s great fun to watch giants and dragons on the streets of Barcelona during the festival. So, don’t be surprised on seeing such spectacle because it is among Barcelona’s longest standing traditions. You will find some of these giants weighing up to 63 kg and even reaching a height of above 4 meters. These giants require a heavy, strong and bulky person to be carried underneath their skirts. The sight of many dragons and beasts in varied shapes breathing live fire will simply perplex you. Another fascinating highlight of this event will be kings, queens as well as other biblical figures alongside butchers, thieves or fishermen – they all will be representing their respective local neighborhoods. This event will also be taking place on the concluding day of the festival on September 24 at Plaça de Sant Jaume. It is great fun watching these events and shouldn’t be missed out in any case.