Seasonal Events, Barcelona
One of the most fun things you can ever take part in in Barcelona are the festes of one of the old municipalities. When I came to the city in 2005, I had the opportunity to take part in La Mercè, the old city's festes (late September). This time around, I was in Gràcia (the northern part of the city) for that area's Festa Major, and it was even more fun than La Mercè. The parties last for about a week, and they start mid-August with a parade down Gran de Gràcia (the northern extension of the Passeig de Gràcia) that provides a chronological guide to the history of Gràcia. Be careful if you have children - one of the groups that take part are musketeers who fire their muskets in the streets and inevitably leave children screaming and crying for hours. The greatest part of the festival, however, are the themed displays that the various streets set up. There is an annual contest to see which street can design and carry off an original themed display. These displays take up the whole street and have themes like "Arctic", "the Devil'', "Tibet", "recycling", "Bees" and other ordinary or not so ordinary topics that are highlighted in a (usually) humourous manner.
The festes also feature nightly concerts. It's a good idea to get a guide to the festival at the start, as different squares have different concerts and styles of music, all at the same time, and if you are really keen on listening to a specific style of music or performance, it is best to plan ahead. Perhaps the only problem is that alcohol is consumed in copious amounts in the street during the festes, which inevitably leads to confrontations between police (not the ones on bikes, but the ones in riot gear) and anarchists or nationalists at night. It also means that you have to watch your step if you go out early in the morning, before BCNeta has a chance to vacuum and sweep up the smashed bottles and wash away the spilt beer.
New Year's Eve in Barcelona is nothing special. There are no fireworks and we locals usually have dinner with the family or friends and go out after 1 am, usually to discos, pubs or such places. At Plaça Catalunya there are some thousands of people waiting for the clock to strike twelfe, and 99% of those people are immigrants and tourists.
In any case, Barcelona is always worth a visit but my point is that you will not see anything extraordinary on that day. For special dates in Barcelona, you should come here on 23 April, 24 June or 24 September.
Is a week long festival (15-21 august in 2007) in the Gracia neighbourhoods of Barcellona . Every year streets and square becomes open air theaters where you can found various kind of alive music (rock, jazz, traditional).
Dating back to the early 19th century, it has become one of Barcelona's biggest festivals.
And it sees Gracia residents from 23 neighbouring streets competing for the prize for best-decorated street, by doing innovative things with plastic, cardboard, wood and any other materials they can lay their hands on, set around a different theme each year.
I had the pleasure of spending Christmas in Barcelona because of Alitalia's ridiculous airfares for December 20-25. Actually, it really was fun, although the Christmas season (by which I mean the time during which people put up decorations) is far shorter than in North America. The lack of snow and leaves on the trees makes the city not quite festive during the day, but it comes to light in the evening, especially in l'Eixample. Be sure to wander around the streets on the days before Christmas to see all the beautiful light displays, especially on major thoroughfares like Passeig de Gràcia, Aragó, Consell de Cent and Gran Via. Markets and major hotels usually have some sort of light show on their façades.
Christmas itself is a bit of a slow day, but the evening is very busy, as families and couples dine out or spend time at restaurants and bars for sweets, coffee and drinks. My greatest surprise was that family restaurants are sometimes open for business on Christmas - the one catch is that you dine with the family (not at the same table, but in the same room). It's heartwarming at first, especially if you're in Barcelona alone or without the family, but you soon feel guilty for making the server or cook get up from the family meal to bring you your food or cheque.
Take advantage of some of the regional festivals that go on inside different areas of the city. The Festa Mayor is most notable in Gracia in mid-August, but there are also some other ones that happen a bit later, such as this one in Barceloneta, that make for a festive and enjoyable outing. Check out bcn.com for upcoming festivals.
If you happen to be in Barcelona the last weekend in September (which you should arrange, if possible), you will be able to take part in the biggest party of the year, La Merce. The metro runs all night, the weekend's long, and every moment of it is packed with festivities like you've never seen. Make sure you take part in the fiery madness that happens all along Via Laietana the first night. Sparklers, fireworks, and just plain fire are swirled and sparkled all over the street to the beat of dozens of drumlines. And don't forget all the people dressed in devil costumes and the crazily obscene looking floats that also spew fire. Wear long sleeves, EVEN if it's hot. I made the mistake of wearing a sleeveless dress and I had little burns all over my arms. It's worth really getting in on the action, so cover up and dive in. And take lots of pictures.
Then jump on the all-night metro and head over to maresme forum for free HUGE concerts and maybe a ride on the huge ferris wheel. But don't forget the concerts inside the city at places like the catedral and the placa between MACBA and CCCB.
Then get home before the sun rises. You are going to need some sleep before you wake up to see the human towers in the morning in Placa St. Jaume and the like. They are amazing, no matter what you may think as you are lying in bed, dreading having to wake up and get back on the metro. But do it. It will be hot and bright and crowded, but you won't see anything like it for a while, and you'll hardly believe that people can and do do this when you do see it.
I knew before I arrived in Barcelona that my arrival date, 23rd April, was the festival Sant Jordi. St George is the Catalan patron saint and this festival seems to be their version of St Valentines Day. The tradition is that the man buys the woman a rose and the woman buys the man a book.
I arrived at my hotel in the evening so didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing on my first day but I was interested to see what was going on with this festival. The streets, particularly around Las Ramblas, were totally swarming with people - most of the women seemingly carrying flowers, so the guys must have been keeping up THEIR end of the bargain at least!
The streets were lined with lots of these stalls selling flowers or else books. It was nice to see and a nice warm and fuzzy atmosphere even if it did suck for us single people with noone to buy them flowers!!
Contrary to popular belief, in England at least - St George is in fact a well travelled patron saint. In this instance he is the patron saint of Catalonia. On the 23 April - gentlemen buy their ladies a rose and the ladies buy their gentlemen a book. Las Ramblas becomes a huge book selling florist on that day!
As can be seen from the images shown - the cross of St George features on the arms and flag of the City and that of FC Barcelona.
my most favourie reason to be in Barcalona. its a traditional Catholic festivity, and its celebrated in the end of august. with fiesta major, when they celebrate it, its the best thing to to to Garcia. and then you get amazed: the whole local area is full of streets that have all their own theme: a street expressing mexico, with cactusses, and full of mecican items such as of course a tequila bar. other streets just happily decorated like with lots of colours, flags and lights. In many streets there are live bands, beautifull spanish music or rockmusic. All local bands , probabl;y coming from the area or living in that particular street. People dancing, passion and so much real life! i love it
Barcelona Contemporany Culture Centre located closer to MACBA (other museum) offers regular exhibitions about everything ... hte most interesting i ve seen were about Borges, city of Fez in Morocco and obviously this one below about Sarajevo few timw ago before i went to visit this unfortunate city
DONT FORGET Sarajevo, 10 years after the siege
From November 1993 to March 1994, and later, in January 1995, a group of film-makers daily filmed two minutes in the lives of citizens under siege in a street in Sarajevo. These images, presented together for the first time, show the everyday experience of a war and the instinct for survival. In the form of the installation, every day presents a month of the siege, and the programme therefore changes daily.
The exhibition also includes the work of five photographers who turned the act of chronicling the siege into a manifesto of life and art: Gervasio Sánchez, Enric Martí, Santiago Lyon, Danilo Krstanovic and Damir Sagolj (some nationals, others foreign) show the bravery and independence of this testimony.
And, as a chronicle of contemporary reality, we can attend the trial of Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity, a vital event in the history of Europe which was scandalously hushed up, once again announcing the dangers of forgetting and indifference.
Sónar by Day
concerts, DJ sets, a professional fair, the SonarMatica multimedia area, audio-visual projections in all formats, a mediatheque, conferences and exhibitions as 'Sonic Processes' and Designer's Republic 'Brain Aided Design' retrospective.
Simultaneous and uninterrupted activities across a range of areas at the Raval district (CCCB, MACBA, Centre d'Art Santa Mónica).A meeting point for artists, professionals and public.
Sónar by Night
Nights at SÓNAR are of a distinctive nature, an enormous cosmopolitan celebration, similar to other great European events but with a Mediterranean feeling, giving it a unique festive atmosphere.
Sónar by Night has 3 locations occupied by distinguished national and international names from the world of electronic music. Each night DJs, VDJs and concerts from the broadest spectrum of dance music appear simultaneously in the 4 areas. Sónar by Night occupies an area of more than 10,000 meters, divided between covered and open-air spaces
Do you want to come back in the 1900's early years? It's possible during a weekend every year, usually in the month of march. During this weekend about 80 cars made in the early years of 1900 are in Barcelona. On Saturday the cars are exhibit in some spots of the city so people can admire them and on Sunday they all gather at Sant Jaume square where they all leave to Sitges, the competition stars. People who rides them are wearing that time outfits so its very nice to see.
Every year, the 3th march, takes place a sweet and funny event. This day is Sant Medir and to celebrate it you can go to the nice quarter of Gracia to witness it. You have to go to Gran de Gracia street where at 8pm there is a parade and thousands of candies are thrown to people from trucks and horses and others. Take some bags to put them.
This street is at the end of Passeig de Gracia. Cross Diagonal avenue and after the gardens you find this street.
It`s hard to describe the incendiary atmosphere spread all over the city.We arrived in Barcelona in the midlle of this fiesta:getting out of the car in Plaza de la Seu I`ve found myself into a circle of people who were dancing sardana; so, we put our luggage in the midlle of that circle near other handbags and shoping baskets,and we begun to learn how to dance it.Peoples were amazing trying to show us the steps.(very difficult !)
On the second day,late in the evening after a good meal and a huge glass of sangria it was time to learn samba in Sant Jaume Square.
During this week we had the pleasure of a wine tasting on Rambla del Mar :sweet or dry,red or white wines ,exquisite flavour
born under the sun of Catalunya.
At the end of the festival (20-24 september) ...surprise:a firework show combined with music,water and lights
La Festa de la Merce is the most popular festival in Barcelona and also in Catalunya.It was back in the 13th century when The Virgin of the Mercy appeared in a dream to a local.In 1637 The Virgin saved the city from a plaque of locusts,and thereafter she became the Saint Patron of Barcelona.This festival`s revival is not for a touristic purpose.It is a joyful and brightful expression of Barcelona`s identity.
For a hole week ,the streets are bursting with life and colours:parades,giants( huge carnival figures in papier machee), castells (human towers),dance lessons on the street,fireworks, street performance on Las Ramblas or in Barri Gotic