The biggest city in northern Spain, and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is home to some of the biggest and best Catalan and Spanish events. Amongst the Barcelona festivals worth making travel plans around are St George’s Day (Dia di Sant Jordi) in April, the Grec Arts Festival from June to August and Festes de la Mercè in September.
Spanish Events: Barcelona Festivals – Dia di Sant Jordi (St George’s Day)
St George is the patron saint of many places, including England and Germany, but nowhere is he celebrated more than in Barcelona, the Catalan capital. On his Saints’ Day, the local residents act out the age-old traditions of giving each other presents. It is customary for men to give women a rose, and women to give men a book. This means that the streets, especially around La Rambla, are filled with flower and book stalls on April 23rd. Tight-fisted males may like the chance to get that encyclopaedia in return for a grotty weed yanked out of a nearby garden.
Spanish Events: Barcelona Festivals – Festes de la Mercè
Despite St George’s Day being in April, the main festival held in the dragon-slaying saint’s honour takes place in September. The Festes de la Mercè is a massive four day event that is largely seen as an excuse to hit the streets or Barcelona and party. Whilst knocking back beer and wine is obviously a prime concern, there are some concerts and Catalonian cultural traditions too. One of these is that of the castellers, who build human castles, hoping that the poor souls at the bottom don’t crumble. There is also a magnificent fireworks display, designed to co-ordinate with the movements of the Montjuïc fountains. Visitors travelling to Barcelona at the time can also expect traditional Catalan dancing.
Spanish Events: Barcelona Festivals – Grec Arts Festival
Despite what the name may imply, this isn’t exclusively a festival of Greek theatre or plate-smashing – the name comes from one of the main venues, Teatro Grec on plaça del Rei. It is Catalonia’s biggest dance, theatre and music festival. Sometimes simply called the Barcelona Festival, it pulls together performers from all over the world, as well as some of the best Spanish and Catalan acts. The shows and performances take part in venues across the city. Lasting for just over a month, the Barcelona Grec Arts Festival runs from the end of June to the start of August every year.