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What are the main city fests in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a city with a rich cultural heritage, and as such it has many festivals and events throughout the year.

Depending on which season are you visiting the city, you might get caught in the middle of a big event without noticing. Some of these events are very relevant for locals and during some days the city can get very crowded and busy with many activities worth visiting.

Here we are listing some of the key festival events happening in the city:

January - Dia de reis – La cabalgata

  • La Cabalgata de Reyes (The Three Wise Men' Parade) is an annual event that takes place in Barcelona and other cities in Spain on the evening of January 5th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany. This event is also known as La cavalcada de Reis.

  • The parade features three large floats representing the Three Wise Men (Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) who travel through the streets of the city, accompanied by a large entourage of people dressed in costumes insipred in the old Middle East from 2000 years ago. They throw sweets and small presents to the crowd (normally full of kids). The parade usually starts at around 6pm in different points of the city and usually ends at around 9pm.

  • This parade is a traditional celebration of the arrival of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus, it is a family-friendly event that is enjoyed by people of all ages. It is also a popular event among tourists visiting the city at this time of the year. The parade route changes every year, so it's a good idea to check the official website or local newspapers for the exact route and schedule.

cabalgata wise men barcelona

April – festa de Sant Jordi

  • La Festa de Sant Jordi, also known as Saint George's Day, is a traditional holiday celebrated in Catalonia (Spain) and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world on April 23rd. It is also known as the "Catalan Valentine's Day".

  • The festival is celebrated in honor of Saint George, who is the patron saint of Catalonia. On this day, it is traditional for men to give women a red rose and, for women, to give men a book. The streets are filled with book and flower stalls, and many literary events are held throughout the city.

  • The festival is also celebrated with parades, dances and other cultural activities. It is a day of the "Catalan culture and identity" where people express their pride in their heritage and there are many activities outdoors mainly in Las Ramblas and Plaça Sant Jaume.

  • This festival has gained international recognition and become a popular event among tourists visiting the city at this time of the year. The events take place all over the city, so it's a good idea to check the official website or local newspapers for the schedule.

If you want to know more, check how La Casa Batlló gets "dressed" during Sant Jordi

casa batllo roses sant jordi

June – festa de Sant Joan

  • In Spain, June 23rd is celebrated as the festival of San Juan, also known as the Feast of St. John the Baptist. This festival is held on the evening of June 23rd and marks the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year.

  • During the festival of San Juan, people gather on the beaches, in parks, or in the streets to celebrate the arrival of summer. The celebrations typically begin in the evening and continue late into the night, with music, dancing, and fireworks.

  • One of the most popular traditions during the festival of San Juan is to build bonfires on the beaches. People gather around the fires to sing, dance, and enjoy the warm summer night. It's also traditional to jump over the flames three times, which is said to bring good luck for the coming year.

In the following link you can find additional information about this festivity

August - Les festes de Gràcia

  • This festival is held annually in August and it is one of the most popular festivals in the city. It is a neighborhood festival where the streets are decorated with colorful lights and ornaments, and there are parades, music, and dance performances.

  • During the festival, the streets of the popular neighborhood of Gracia are decorated with elaborate displays and sculptures made by residents, and there are a variety of events and activities, including live music, dancing, parades, and food and drink vendors.

  • Indeed the street decoration is part of an official competition among the different streets to evaluate which one is the most beautifully decorated. The residents of each street compete against each other to get the honour of being designated the most beautiful street of the festival. This challenge has become already a traditional competition and there are sometimes very large queues of people to enter and visit every street decoration in order to judge which street is the among the 10 or 15 competing streets.

  • Additionally, there are also concerts, large community dinners and some Catalan cultural events, such as "human towers," in which teams of people build towers by climbing on top of each other.

September – Festa de la Mercè – correfocs

  • La Festa de La Mercè (The Feast of Our Lady of Mercy) is a traditional holiday celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain) on September 24th. It is one of the most important festivals in the city and honors the patron saint of Barcelona, Our Lady of Mercy.

  • During the festival, the city gets full of activities and performances around key places. Many things to do and see:

  • Parades: There are several parades throughout the city, featuring giant puppets, giant heads, and "giants" (people dressed in giant costumes) and "cabezudos" (people wearing oversized heads). The parades are accompanied by traditional music and dance.

  • Castells: The festival features human towers, known as "castells", which is a form of acrobatic folk dance where people form towers using only their bodies.

  • Correfoc: There is also a "Correfoc" (fire runs), which is a parade of people dressed as demons who dance and set off fireworks. This is a lively and exciting event, where the crowds join in and get showered with sparks.

correfoc demons fireworks performance street barcelona

  • Gegants and Big-Heads: Another traditional element of the festa are the Gegants and Big-Heads. It's a representation of the Catalan folklore where you can see big figures and giant puppets being carried around the streets by groups of people.

  • Music and Dance: The festival features a wide range of music and dance performances, including traditional Catalan music and dance, as well as contemporary music and dance.

  • Fireworks: The festival concludes with a grand fireworks display over the port of Barcelona. It is particularly beautiful and there are around 100 thousand people gathered in Avinguda Maria Cristina (Plaça Espanya) to enjoy the performance.

This festival has become a popular event among tourists visiting the city at this time of the year, and it's a great opportunity to see and experience the traditional culture of Catalonia. The events take place all over the city, so it's a good idea to check the official website or local newspapers for the schedule and information about the safety measures.

These are some of the main festivals, but there are many others throughout the year, so there's always something to see and do in Barcelona.

By getting a full day tour in Barcelona you will be able to visit most of the places where these events take place and a professional tour guide will explain you the background of these and other main events in the city.

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