Festivals in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona hosts a number of annual fiestas, many of which are unique to Catalonia and offer an insight into its distinctive culture.
- Cavalcada de Reis. (January 5) This float parade of the Three Wise Men is majestic and held on the evening of January 5 every year. Although geared towards families and kids, the various colorful and decorative floats can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
- Fira de Santa Eulalia. (February 12): This festival commemorates the martyrdom of the ancient patron saint of the city with activities for the young ones and for the not so young. It lasts for the whole weekend and it is getting bigger every year becoming known as the winter festival.
- Sónar. An annual three-day music festival. It is described officially as a festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art. Music is by far the main aspect of the festival. The festival runs for three days and nights, usually starting on a Thursday in the third week of June.
- Festes de Gràcia. The Fiestas de Gràcia is a Catalonian celebration, held around the 15th of August each year to commemorate the Assumption. During the week of festivities that mark one of Barcelona’s most important festes, the city of Gràcia explodes with fun, excitement, color and fireworks. Many streets are decorated by the neighbours, live music, food in the street, and the parties continue all night.
- Festes de Sants. Similar to Gracia’s event, but smaller and later on in August. If you can’t go to the Gracia’s, try to go to this festival instead.
- Sant Jordi. (April 23) Considered to be like Valentine’s Day. People give roses and books around the streets. Traditionally men give women roses and women give men books. It is one of the most popular and interesting celebrations in Catalonia.
- Late in May (Corpus Christi day). An egg is put over the fountains (most of them in the churches, and decorated with flowers), and “magically dances” over the water. Most of the churches are in the city center: Cathedral’s cloister, Santa Anna, Casa de l’Ardiaca, Museu Frederic Marés, and over 10 more fountains.
- Fira de Santa Llúcia. From December 2nd/3rd to December 23rd, to commemorate Sta. Llúcia (December 13th). During this time, in front of the Cathedral, Christmas objects are sold. Some places sell Christmas trees, but most of them sell elements for making the pessebres (Nativity scenes). These include small sculptures, wooden pieces and moss used to simulate grass.
- December 13th is the feast day of Santa Llucia, patron saint of fashion designers and blind people, who gather at the Santa Llucia chapel in the cathedral to pay their respects.
- Revetlla de Sant Joan. (June 23) This is the midsummer solstice celebration. It is celebrated on 23rd June every year and is signified by the fireworks (note that there are frequent and loud amateur fireworks all night long, which may make it hard to sleep) that are permanently on display during this time.
- La Mercè. (September 24): The annual festival of the City of Barcelona dating back to the 17th Century, it is an official holiday established to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. It offers a lot of activities, with the main event being the parade of gigantic papier maché figures. Also worth noting are the group of ‘castellers’ who compete to see who can form the highest human tower, live music events, and the Magic Fountain and Fireworks show at the base of the Montjuic hill. All the day events are accompanied by a heavy consumption of Cava, the national drink of Catalonia.
- Fira de Barcelona. There are trade events all year round in Barcelona, including the annual Mobile World Congress which sees more than 70,000 visitors to the city.
- During festivals and especially during mobile world congress which is a major trade show at the Fira, accommodation in Barcelona and especially near the Fira is much more difficult to find and more expensive than usual.