One of the most important dates on the calendar of castells, or human tower building, is La Mercè. This year, the city’s annual festival is offering two major events in a row: On Saturday 23 September, there will be a Historic Human Tower Performance of guest groups, featuring the Castellers de Barcelona, the Minyons de Terrassa and the Joves Xiquets de Valls. And Sunday 24 September, La Mercè day, is the day of the local groups featuring the eight from Barcelona.
Tradition has it that on the day of La Mercè, the city’s human tower groups get together to perform at the same time in Plaça de Sant Jaume. This square, the home to human towers for almost half a century, has seen all the city’s human tower groups born and raised: the Castellers de Barcelona, the Castellers de Sants, the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia, the Castellers de la Sagrada Família, the Castellers de Poble-sec, the Colla Jove de Barcelona, the Castellers de Sarrià and the Castellers de l’Esquerra de l’Eixample. That is a total of eight local human tower groups that are constantly evolving, getting bigger and going higher.
The Castellers de Barcelona are the city’s oldest group and for many years they have hosted the guest groups’ human tower day. It will be held on Saturday 23 September at 12 noon in Plaça de Sant Jaume, and the Minyons de Terrassa and the Joves Xiquets de Valls will once again participate. These are three top-class human tower groups who will certainly bring us an intense day full of extra varied human towers. Just like the previous one, there will be a towers procession that will leave the Palau de la Virreina at 11:30 am and take the participating groups to Plaça de Sant Jaume.
On Sunday 24 September at 1 pm, don’t miss the city’s most familiar human tower performance, which attracts the most loyal spectators: the day of the local groups of tower builders. The Castellers de Barcelona, with their red shirts; the Esquerdats in purple; and the group from Sarrià in crimson, just like the Colla Jove de Barcelona, who wear their name embroidered on their backs. The Castellers del Poble-Sec wear sky blue shirts, while the shirts of the Castellers de la Sagrada Família are green, their shield showing an enxaneta (the child that crowns the tower once erected) above the Sagrada Família. The Castellers de Sants wear grey shirts, paying homage to the people from the old textile factories in the district, while the human tower builders from the Vila de Gràcia wear navy blue.