The patron saint of Barcelona is the Virgen de la Mercé, and is celebrated every September 24TH since the nineteenth century to dismiss the summer solstice and prepare for the arrival of the colder months.
A Mediterranean feast that brings back all the inhabitants of the city to enjoy music, dance and street entertainment with Giants, Castellars and Sardanas that dance to traditional instruments such as the “chirimía” a kind of hornpipe.
The Giants that parade in the Gothic Quarter and Raval are famous, dancing with the big heads and delighting children and adults in the Sant Jaume Plaza.
Once immerged in the Catalan culture, you should not forget to see the incredible shows that are given by the “Castellers” in the Sant Jaume Plaza, you need to arrive early since the turnout is large. The merit of the human pyramids is due to the tremendous solidarity between the members of the “Castell”, on top of nerves and iron muscles.
The more experienced Castellers have formed pyramids to up to 9 levels tall, each level containing less people and less weight as the previous one, the last level is usually a kid. The aim is to assemble the pyramid and dissemble it cleanly, without falling any of the levels.
Like in all the celebration of the Spanish Mediterranean, fire cannot be forgotten, for Barcelona Merce, there are on top of fireworks, the “Correfoc” that are a series of dragons and demons that run through the streets throwing firecrackers and rockets. Although they are made for children and adults, it is recommended that you dress appropriately to avoid getting burned.
One of the latest attractions of these festivals that surprises tourists is the sound and light show called “Piromusical” which consists of a fireworks display synchronized to the beat of the music in the unique setting of the luminous fountains of Montjuic.
To dismiss the festivities of La Merce in Barcelona, the feast of heaven has been held for the past few years, the second weekend of the holidays, a great air festival is put on for the kids and adults, with displays of acrobatic planes, war planes and trade planes over the skies of Maresme beach.
The month of September with more pleasant temperatures for tourists and taking advantage of the holiday celebrations of the Merce, is an ideal time to visit Barcelona and enjoy both its historical and cultural heritage, museums, parks, architecture and excursions to monasteries, coastal towns and wineries nearby.
La Merce is one of the icons that have built the identity of Barcelona. Like the FC Barcelona, or the Sagrada Familia from Gaudia, it has shaped the way the Barceloneses perceive themselves and are perceived by the rest of the world.