La Merce Festival 2011 Barcelona
Every year at the end of September, Barcelona holds their main annual festival, Festes de la Merce, to celebrate the city's patron saint, Mare de Deu de la Merce. This year the festival will be held from the 22nd to the 24th.
Many different events are held from the 22nd leading up till the 24th wich is the public holiday. One of the main events is the Parade of the Giants which is a procession through the streets made up of giant wooden figures operated by people. The first official festival took place in 1902. La Merce is also a farewell celebration of the hot summer and welcomes the cooler autumn months ahead.
Correfoc, a.k.a. â€œfire runâ€ is one of the major events that take place during La Merce. The event happens at dusk which makes a beautiful scene between the setting sun and the burning flames. Normally occuring along and around Via Laietana, there is 2 types of Correfoc on the same evening. One of which is for the children with smaller flames, the other, more extravagant one is for the adults which happens later in the evening.
Once the roads are closed â€œThe Devilsâ€ take over. The special community group dresses up like devils and parades the streets during several festivals in Barcelona. The devils frolic throught the streets waving sparklers and carrying bangers setting the party vibe. During the â€œadultâ€ Correfoc the crowd is actually sprayed with flames from the fireworks!
Another event is the Castellers, or Human Towers which takes place at the Place de Sant Jaume. It is one of the highlights of La Merce Festival. The goal of the Castellers is to build a human tower and have a young child climb to the top and stand up. Its in your best interest to arrive early since thousands of people come to observe the show.
La Merce Festival incorporates music, dancers, flame throwers, art, markets, and some good old spanish cuisine. If you're in Spain during the time of the festival, it's definitely worth your wild to swing through Barcelona to take part in the tradition.