We happened to be in Barcelona during the La Laia festival. Don't know if this happens every year, but it is a festival for Santa Eulalia which tales place the first week of Lent.
Friday night whilst waiting for a friend, we came across a parade with two giant figures, a king and a gypsy girl (?), lead by something which was either a turkey or an eagle, wearing a crown.
Would love to know the significance of that, if anyone can explain!
Saturday morning, in the Placa de Sant Jaume, an orchestra played whilst five men on horseback stood outside the Ajuntament whilst a flag was unfurled from the balcony.
Really cool to come across something like this so unexpectedly!
You can see the sardana every monday in front of the Cathedral. Sardana is the traditional dance of Catalonia. The origins aren't known. For me is a little bit borring (I prefer salsa, he he) but is needed to see if you want to know the life of the people here. A lot of catalan people can't dance it (I can say i danced a little bit but i don't remember anymore) because it need dedication. The "colles" (groups) are not open to anybody, and they only allows you dance with them if you are a good dancer.
The music has a particular sound, i think emotive. And the dance has its utilities. For instance, my father-in-law and my mother-in-law knew them selves dancing Sardanes. You can see them in the photo.
Podeu veure dansar la sardana cada diumenge al matí en front de la Catedral. La sardana és la dansa tradicional de Catalunya. Els seus origens són desconeguts. Per a mi és una mica avorrida. La majoria dels barcelonins no la saben ballar perquè requereix dedicació. Les colles no estan obertes a tothom, així que no cal que hi intenteu ballar perquè no us hi deixaran entrar. La música té un so característic, una mica melancòlic, potser. I el ball també té la seva utilitat. Els meus sogres es van conèixer ballant sardanes, per exemple.
All around barcelona between the 20th and 24th of september ;) La merce is a great festival all around barcelona in every square of the Town ..
Fondest memory: The people, the life ..almost everything ;)
people there are friendly ... very friendly ...
You walk down the street and people are smiling laughing and enjoying themselves ..natives and tourist .. there can be no reason for frowning there .. at least i never did
Fondest memory: I'd heard about these Castellers, but it was total serendipity that I happened upon them that Sunday afternoon...maybe you will be as lucky to catch their balancing act as well...there are major competitions for these teams of young people, they come from all over the region to try and out-*tower* each other...
Catalonia has managed to maintain many customs and traditions over the years, which are very common in everyday life.
The most important from a tourist point of view are:
Sardanas: Traditional Catalan dance. People meet in front of the cathedral on Sundays to dance it.
Castellers: The 'castells' are impressive human towers of up to 9 'floors'. They originated in the Tarragona region, although they can be seen in popular festivals in Barcelona, especially during the 'Mercè'.
Saint George (Sant Jordi), patron saint of Catalonia: On 23 April the Catalans celebrate Saint George's day by offering a rose and/or book, and the main shopping streets of Barcelona are filled with book stands.
Eve of Saint John's: On the 23 June, the summer solstice is celebrated with big bonfires, firecrackers and fireworks, and people eat the traditional 'coca de Sant Joan' (a pastry).
La Mercè festival: This is the festival for Barcelona's patron saint, held in the week of the 24 September, the day of La Mercè. All kinds of activities are organized, for all tastes and all ages. Of particular interest is the 'correfoc' (fire-breathing dragons from all over Catalonia), and the pyrotechnical music show (fireworks and classical music next to the Montjuïc fountains).
Favorite thing: Taking a stroll through Barcelona's streets on Sunday morning, we came to an out of the way square, where these wonderful gegants wellcomed us. These giants take often part of folk festivities. Aren't they handsome!