16 Set La Mercè: what to do and what to see in Barcelona
La Mercè are the festivities celebrated in Barcelona from 20 to 24 September. It is a celebration in honour of the Mare de Dèu de La Mercè, one of the patron saints of Barcelona, filling the city with cultural, free musical and religious events in all the districts.
The origin of this festivity goes back to 1687, when the city of Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts. The citizens prayed to the Virgin of La Mercè and the plague disappeared. The Consell de Cent then named La Mercè the patron saint of the city, which shares this honour with Santa Eulàlia, the main winter festivals in Barcelona.
The traditional celebration
During the days of the celebration stand out the traditional activities like the parade of giants, the castellers and a long Correfoc that crosses Via Laietana. The castellers are human towers formed by men, women and children of all ages in perfect synchronicity that can reach up to 9 floors high. The castellers of La Mercè are held in Plaça Sant Jaume at midday on 22 September.
The correfoc is a parade where the fire is the main protagonist. Devils and beasts run through the central streets of the city spitting fire to all participants. It is a unique show with two versions: the Junior and the Adult.
The giants and capgrossos (” bigheads “) march through the Gothic quarter filling it with colour and music in the Cavalcade of La Mercè. These giants dance to the traditional music of the collas (bands) to the surprise of thousands of people.
All the people of Barcelona and those who visit the city can enjoy free concerts, which are held in Forum, Bogatell beach, María Cristina avenue, Cathedral avenue, the old Damm factory, Plaça dels Àngels and Parc de La Ciutadella.
The musical selection is wide and diverse. The BAM Festival offers concerts of more alternative music, with musical groups ranging from hip-hop to music with ethnic tints. This year Beirut is the guest country, so you can enjoy music from Lebanon, another example of the cultural mix that exists in Barcelona.
The Albéniz Palace hosts concerts thought for the whole family and located in the surroundings of Montjuïc.
Piromusical in the fountains of Montjuïc
The finishing touch to La Mercè is the pyromusical celebration on the night of 24 September. It is a light and music show in the fountains of Montjuïc in which the water dances to the sound of different songs.
Like the rest of the activities, it is free and can be seen from Avenida María Cristina. It ends with a spectacular fireworks display.
Hotel Arc La Rambla, located in the heart of Barcelona, offers perfect accommodation to enjoy the main events in the city.
Ask for information and enjoy La Mercè.