But, first things first, and here there is a little backup history: La Mercè is the patron saint of Barcelona, celebrated on September 24th. The festival took off in 1902 but due to the political instability during the 20th Century it did not became a truly popular celebration until the arrival of democracy in the eighties. Nowadays the festival offers a large number of activities, including concerts, traditional dances, art... Every year we do also have a guest city, and so artists and musicians from there are invited to join the local festivities and by the way, this year's guest city is the one and only Paris!
Days: 22 -25 September (although some activities may start earlier or last longer)
Where: everywhere and all around in Barcelona
WHAT TO DO in Mercè 2016
- "El Pregó" or, also known as, the opening speech, which is the followed by the opening ceremony. Every year a remarkable personality of the city gives a start to the celebration by delivering the speech. As for 2016, it is time for Javier Pérez Ardújar, a local writer. Thursday 22, 19:00, Plc Sant Jaume.
- Sardanes, a traditional dance. It's danced around a circle with various amounts of people. There are various shows during the festival and some even let you join them (as long as you know the moves!). Sunday 25, Cathedral Ave - Championship at 11 am, open to popular dancing at 1 pm. // Saturday 24, 18:15, Pl Mercè 1
- Trabucaires, traditional music with drums. Saturday 24, 9:00, Gothic Quarter
- Ball de Bastons, traditional elaborated dances with wooden sticks. Saturday 24, 12:00, Pl Sant Jaume
- "Passejada de Gegants" or Stroll of the Giants. Giant figures of human beings are moved around in the streets of the Gothic Quarter, and one of the children's favorite activities. Saturday 24, 11:00, Pl Sant Jaume
- Castellers or human towers. One of the most well known traditions of Catalonia s the construction of human towers, which actually make it to even 8 or 9 levels of people. It is certainly impressive. Saturday 24 12:30, Sunday 25 12:00 Pl Sant Jaume
- "Correfoc", which is the literal translation to Fire Run, it's a Catalan traditional celebration. There are the so-called devils who run around with torches making sparks, but, in case you are not familiar with it, do not worry at all! It's children friendly and as long as you behave properly it is perfectly safe and a lot of fun. Sunday 25, 20:30, Via Laietana
-Music / Concerts
- BAM. Barcelona Musical Action (Barcelona Acció Musical). Music from around the world held in different locations around the city. Check your favorites!
- La Pegatina / La Raiz / Oques Grasses / Manu Chao... on the Forum Park either on Friday or Saturday nights! They are very well known artists here, and surely some great concerts to come
- Concert Mediterraneament, which translates to Mediterraneanly. It is a concert. On the beach. What else should I say? This year the lineup is Love of Lesbian, Animal and Ramon Mirabet. Friday 23, Platja Bogatell, from 21:30 to 3:00 am
- Piromusical. It is the closing ceremony, and a classic in the city. You can either watch it at home or live, where you will be able to see the art of the fireworks lightning us in coordination with the music. Sunday 25, 22:00 Ave Maria Cristina
-Sport in La Mercè
- 38th Run of "La Merce". Run around the city for 10 km! It's a classic of the festival and a must-go for fitness obsessed. Sunday 25, 9:00, Ave Maria Cristina
- The Fitness Party! Not because of La Merce, but still on the same dates, there is the Fitness Party, thanks to the Intrenational Fitness Day and where you will be able to attend a massive class in Ave Maria Cristina on Saturday 24 10:30
-Paris in La Mercè
- Paris in the Cinema. From Monday 19 to Sunday 25 the Verdi Cinema will be projecting various Parisian movies at 12 am and 8 pm, such as "Le week-end" or "Samba"
- MAC FESTIVAL. It will be featuring various parisian artists around La Ciutadella during the weekend. Exhibitions, shows, dances everything!