La Mercè is the biggest party of the year in Barcelona! 🎉🎵As an annual festival that has been celebrated since the Middle Ages, it honors the patron saint, Our Lady of Mercy (Mare de Déu de la Mercè). This four-day festival is jam-packed with over 500 different types of performances all over the city!From traditional dance performances to modern pyrotechnics, this festival leaves no stone unturned! Best of all, everything you see is free! 😲 And of course, there are also plenty of street food vendors there selling greasy goodies and cold beers to keep you going all throughout the night!🍔🌭🍺
During the four-day festival, I was lucky enough to attend a local party and see a wide-variety of performances!
As such, I put together a little video montage for you all. Now the video I made starts off very traditional where I show visitors gathering in Plaça de Sant Jaume, waving the Catalan flag and watching los gigantes. The importance of los gigantes (the giants) is a 15th century Catalan tradition, that is either religious or pagan in origin, possibly symbolizing Goliath or the struggle between Arabs and Christians during the Middle Ages.
Side note: When I speak of Catalan culture in Catalonia, I’m referring to the region in Spain where Barcelona is located.
The Catalonians have a different language, flag, culture, and traditions, separate from the rest of Spain. There is even a current political situation where the region wants to vote to become independent from the rest of the country. Here are a few of the protesters during the festival.
Anyway, after los gigantes, we see a glimpse of the Castellers, or human tower, another deeply rooted tradition in Catalonia, where professionals swiftly construct and dismantle human towers, usually with a small child on top! 😲
Afterwards, in the video, we see a series of traditional Catalan dances, including a stick dance and ‘La Sardana’, a dance where Catalans join hands together in a circle, to symbolize unity and pride. 🕺🏼💃🏻
From there, the performances become a bit more international, with folk dancers performing in front of cathedral, and a Asian drum performance. ⛪ 🥁
After, we see a bit of the modern and unique pyrotechnics involved at La Mercè, with a light show display in front of the Parc de la Ciutadella fountain, an illuminated gazebo performance, and some weird and wacky glowing neon inflatables! 💚💜💙
We end the video off with a literal bang during the Correfoc, a fire-run where patrons dress demonic, and light hundreds of thousands of sparklers off as they parade down the grand Via Laietana. 👹 🔥Be sure to look for the little dragons and the giant devil shooting fire-jets off into the crowd! Hah! 😜
Well, that wraps up the timeline of the video! Hope you enjoy! 😀 📹
Overall, I had a spectacular time at the festival, and I hope this post taught you a bit more about Catalan culture and maybe encouraged you to attend La Mercè in 2018! 😉 🇪🇸 Goodbye and until next time! Adios!