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Festa major de Gracia
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.
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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
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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
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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.
WHAT HAPPEN WITH THE CHIMNEY?
First day in Barcelona and I wonder out to the streets to get a feeling of the city. I was expecting the local markets, the old people in the street, and probably to meet a lovely dog- Paco- in the square.
But Santa hanging from the balcony, nop, not expecting that one. I always taught Santa came through the chimney.
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!!
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
Take Advantage of La Merce
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.
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Christmas in Barcelona
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.
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Festa Major de Gràcia
The neighborhood of Gracia in Barcelona holds its Festa Major from august 14th to 21st. Its a popular celebration where you have over 600 outdoors events, all of them for free. Over 1.000.000 people come to visit the Festa Major during those days. It will be a great chance to know the feast if you are in Barcelona during these days.
The main distinctive tarit from Gracia s Festa Major is the decoration of the streets. Every place groups in a neighbour commitee that prepares the ornaments all along the year. They choice a main subject and they work on the materials to be used, as woods, porexpan, cardboard or plastic... that will end up in real masterpieces.
There are events and activities everyday on each of the 23 streets. There are special activities for children (children garmes, light refreshments taken in the afternoonn, ). Nightime is for popular dinners and dancing. You can dance with orchestras, enjoy jazz concerts or havaneres auditions among other activities, in any of the decorated streets.
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Festa Mayor de...
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.
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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.
Sant Jordi...or St George
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.
A great time to visit...
A great time to visit Barcelona is around 24th September as it is the city’s “Festa de la Merce”. It is the main festival and celebrates Barcelona’s patron saints and everybody goes mad! Massive processions make their way around town including the famous Barcelona big heads, all good, clean fun!
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