La Mercè

La Mercè is a festival held in Barcelona, Catalonia on the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (in Catalan La Mare de Déu de la Mercè). It is on the 24th of September, but some events of the festival start couple of days earlier. La Mercè has been official city holiday since 1871.

Gegants i capgrossos
Gegants i capgrossos

One of the most attractive events of the festival is the “gegants i capgrossos” (giants and big-heads) parade. This parade of has been part of the festival since 1902. Figures participating in the parade are of papier maché with some clothing covering their body. Gegants are usually several meters tall. Capgrossos have a human sized body but an oversized head.

Castell
Castell

A “Castell” is another tradition that is part of La Mercè. It exists in the city of Barcelona but also in other parts of Catalonia. Castell is sort of human tower. Several teams (“colles castelleres”) try to build and sustain a human tower for the period of time decided by the organizers. During the festival people dance the “Sardana.” Music for this circle dance is played by traditional 10 instruments band called a “cobla.”

Correfocs
Correfocs

“Correfocs “ (in English “fire-runs”) is the attractive event that includes people dressed as devils who start fireworks among the crowd gathered. The “devils” dance to the sound of drums and “gralla” (traditional oboe type of instrument). Finally, let's mention that La Mercè also includes the marathon, the annual Catalan Wine Fair and music performance at the base of the mountain of Montjuïc.