La Merce

La Merce Festival ~ Festes de La Merce

La Merce is an amazing festival and a celebration of popular  Catalan culture and traditions.

La Merce Festival in Barcelona

The main events take place from September 18 to September 26,  with 24 September the actual day of the festival (Event dates for this year TBC).

Every year Barcelona welcomes a guest city  at La Merce. Last year (2016) it was Paris, this year (2017) the guest city  is Reykjavík –  Parc de la Ciutadella is the site for the guest city.

la merce festival barcelonaWith over 500 events,  and most of them FREE, La Merce is one of the best  festivals in Spain. It’s also the biggest and most important festival of Barcelona.

The highlight of the event is on the 24 September.  Celebrations for the festival include the procession of dragons and devils called ‘Correfoc’ (Fire Run) and a spectacular firework display.

The Opening Procession (Toc D’Inici) takes place at Placa de Sant Jaume on Friday 21 September at 7.45 pm in Plaça de Sant Jaume.

La Merce 24 September

On the morning of 24 September you are awoken with the sounds of musicians playing traditional instruments around the streets of the Basilica  to Placa San Jaume.

At about 10.00am the sound of gunpowder (blunderbusses) will be heard,  so cover your ears.

At 11.00am there is dancing in Placa de Sant Jaume with the Giants and at 12 noon there is a procession of Giants from the Basilica to Placa Sant Jaume.

‘Fire Run’ (correfoc)

The famous ‘Fire Run’ (correfoc) which can be a little dangerous so you need to avoid taking children to this one (they do have their own which starts at 6.30 – Little Devils Fire Run) and abide by the rules.

The run consists of dragons, flames and explosions from gunpowder and is held at Porto Cambo, Av de Francesc Cambo, Pl de Antoni Maura, Vial Laietana, Pl de Atntonio Lopez and Consolat de Mar on Saturday at 8.00pm.

Merce Gothic Quarter Early in the morning of La Merce on 24 September, in the Gothic Quarter behind Barcelona Cathedral, you be suprised to hear gunfire. It’s amazingly loud and makes you feel ad if you’ve travelled back in time to the days of the French Revolution.

Very loud, so keep your ears covered!

festes de la merce gegants i capgrossos in Catalan The festival also  includes the tradition giants (gegants i capgrossos in Catalan) and castellers (human tower)… correfoc (“fire-runners” – late night entertainment with dragons and devils accompanied by fireworks).

Passacaglias (processions which are a speciality of Barcelona) – sardana dance, theatre, circus acts, concerts and three nights of Pyrotechnic Festival.

The entire city joins in the fun with celebrations on the waterfront and harbour, on Montjuïc and in the Parc de la Ciutadella (next to El Born) with open air cinema, jazz concerts and celebrations.

La Merce Castellers of Barcelona

Don’t miss this wonderful cultural phenomenon which consist of erecting human towers in the form of a castle – hence the word castellers.

This tradition originated at the end of the 18th century in Valls, Tarragona, when rival groups of people called colles, began to compete in constructing the different kinds of human towers that we recognise nowadays – Castellers de Barcelona

The Dance of Catalunya – SARDANA

Throughout the festival you will have the chance to see the traditional Catalan Sardana dance –  Plaça de Sant Jaume.

At sunset, the lovely city park is flooded with light installations and installations inspired by the latest cutting-edge technology.  Not to be missed, as well as shows where light takes center stage.

Wine and Cava Fair in Barcelona at Festas de la Mercè

36th edition of Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya.

From 22 – 25 September 2016 at Passeig Lluís Companys (Arc de Triomf).
Sample schedule: 22 September – 4PM to 10PM, and 23, 24, 25 September – 12PM to 10PM. Every day the office will close at 8PM.

Firework Displays

Friday 23 September 2016
10 pm Espigó del Gas (Platja de la Barceloneta),
19th International Firework Festival:
Soirs de Fêtes (Paris)
Saturday 24 September 2016
10 pm Espigó del Gas (Platja de la Barceloneta),
19th International Firework Festival:
El Vaquero Pirotécnicos (Bogota)
Sunday 25 September 2016
10 pm Av. Maria Cristina
Piromusical de La Mercè marks the end of the festival and is well worth visiting.

A program of events is available from the large Barcelona Tourist Information Office (A large i above it, you can’t miss it) in Plaça Catalunya (opposite Corte Inglés).

Here is the English version of the 2016 program of Merce  ProgramaResum2016en

2017 program will be available later this year.

Enjoy La Merce!

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