Fiestas in Barcelona

Every barrio or borough in Barcelona hosts its own annual fiesta. You might as well join in, as the music, drums, noise of the crowds and general celebrations of the festival will keep you awake throughout the night.

My favourite is La Fiesta Mayor de Gracia which is held in August. For a whole week Gràcia reverberates to the sound of music, processions of drummers through decorated streets, and elaborately dressed devils lighting fireworks.

Barcelona fiestas

A decorated street in Barcelona.

National Spanish Holidays, Catalan public holidays and Barcelona only holidays

DATE

1 January

6 January

19 March

Varies

23 April

27 April

1 May

16 May

24 June

15 August

11 September

24 September

12 October

1 November

6 December

8 December

25 December

26 December

HOLIDAY

New Year’s Day / Año Nuevo

Epiphany / Día de Reyes

Maundy Thursday / San José

Easter/Pascua/Semana Santa

Saint George / Sant Jordi

Virgin of Montserrat (Barcelona only)

Labour Day / Día del Trabajador

Whit Monday (Barcelona only)

San Juan

Assumption / Asunción

Catalonia National Day

La Mercé (Barcelona only)

Fiesta Nacional de España

All Saints Day

Constitution Day

Immaculate Conception

Christmas Day / Navidad

Boxing Day / Sant Esteban

SPAIN

x

x

x

x

 

 

x

 

x

x

 

 

x

x

x

x

x

x

CATALONIA

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

La Fiesta Mayor de Gràcia

Several streets are decorated to individual themes containing lights, papier-mâché figures and sculptures in a competition to gain the prize for the best decorated street. It creates a magical feel as you walk through the narrow streets, especially at night.

Catalonia’s traditional castellers (human castles) practice and compete in one of Gràcia’s main squares – Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia. To watch these castellers is nerve-racking and thrilling. One by one people climb onto each other’s shoulders to form a linked tower, topped by ever-lighter people until finally a small child forms the summit.

The dancing devils (correfoc), are made up of different groups wearing decorated clothes. They dance through the Barcelona streets to their own band of drummers, setting off fireworks attached to the ends of their pitchforks as they go. If you want to see the devilish dancers, check out the videos below.

More dancing devils:

The gigantes, or giants, is a parade of huge figures representing kings, queens and nobles. The figures are accompanied by music and dance and twirl through the streets.

Concerts are organised, many of them free, and most streets seems to have some sort of band or music playing. You can collect a free guide to the festival from many of the street stands, or from the Ayuntamiento in Plaza Rius i Taulet.

Sant Joan

Sant Joan is an important date in Barcelona and Catalonia and this fiesta is celebrated with fire and fireworks, and lots of them!

With laws banning the lighting of fires in the streets, Barcelona has become a safer place, and subsequently many people head for the beach where fires can still be lit.

However, fire-crackers and fireworks have replaced the fires, and the city echoes to the noise of fireworks all day and night (and most of the preceding and following nights too).

Sant Joan is a great excuse for a party, and everyone seems to join in. The fiesta has its roots in pre-Christian times and is celebrated during the night from 23rd to 24th June.

Sant Jordi

Sant Jordi is Catalonia’s patron saint so consequently is widely celebrated. The tradition is to buy a book and a rose for your loved one, and apparently book sales for Sant Jordi account for 18% of book sales for the whole year. The rose signifies love, whilst the book signifies culture.

This fiesta is celebrated on 23rd April.

Sant Mercè

Finally, Sant Mercè is the Patron Saint of Barcelona: Mare de Deu de la Merce.

Celebrated on 24th September, but lasting about three days, Sant Mercè is celebrated with processions and street performances together with the usual correfocs (dancing devils), gigantes and castellers. Certainly not to be missed.

The list of fiestas above are the main ones in Barcelona. There are many more.