LA MERCÈ FESTIVAL 2013
Surely you´ve started to feel the cooler breeze that´s been blowing over Barcelona the last week. That same breeze that is subtly trying to remind you that summer is pretty much over and that winter is around the corner!
In typical Spanish tradition, everything good that comes to an end is celebrated with some type of festival, and starting today you can enjoy the Mercè Festival which will last for 5 days and finish on Tuesday.
The festival is named after the Patron Saint of Barcelona “Made de Deu de la Merce” and has been taking place since 1902, hosting loads of activities. According to legend the Virgin of La Mercè saved the city of Barcelona from a terrible plague of locusts in 1687. This festival is considered by many as the highlight of the Spanish Festival calendar, and rightly so! The streets are filled with over 2000 regional and international performers, street fairs, parades, paper mache giants, correfocs (fire runs), and last but not least, the Castellars (human towers) that are so typical of the Catalan culture.
If you haven´t seen one of these before its quite impressive – the idea is for a group of people dressed in the same way to build a human tower, after which a small child climbs to the very top and usually takes place on the plaza of a local town or village. The previously mentioned paper mache giants are also quite interesting to observe. The are essentially giants with effigies of queens, kings and nobles and are paraded through the city to the sound of beating drums.
Every year a specific city is invited and this year it is Vienna. This means that Austrian artists will perform major shows at Cuitadella Park and Montjuic Castle.
There will also be a fireworks competition this year, starting today and ending on Sunday at Barceloneta beach.
The festival will open with a speech by internationally acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià and will end with a large scale fireworks displays on Tuesday evening and promise
For more information on the program and where to see all the activities, check out the official website http://merce.bcn.cat/en