Three festival-imagery exhibitions that mark the run-up to La Mercè: giants, beasts and the Communal Procession

Although the La Mercè festival officially starts on 22 September, popular culture enthusiasts are starting things off this weekend, with the inauguration of three festival-imagery exhibitions. In keeping with tradition, Barcelona’s Communal Procession is on show at the Palau de la Virreina; giants, dwarves and giant heads from all over the city can be seen at the Pati Manning’s Giants Exhibition; and the Barcelona fire beasts are on show in the City Hall foyer.

Barcelona’s Communal Procession is the result of a research project on Barcelona’s unusual, historic and unique features that perform a symbolic function within the festival. It was created in 1993 and consists of municipal festival imagery: the Eagle, the Lion, the Bull, the Víbria she-dragon, the Dragon, the Tarasca serene dragon, the Mulassa mule, Giants from the City, Pi and Santa Maria del Mar, the Cavallet Cotoner horses and the Capgrossos Macers [giant-head mace bearers]. They are on show at the Palau de la Virreina every year as part of the La Mercè festival. From 17 to 25 September Highlights: the inaugural procession and the opening ceremony

Giants, kings, men en top hats, all kinds of trades and some unique pieces are all on show at the Pati Manning, for the Giants Exhibition. It is the largest gathering of giants seen in Barcelona all year; a unique opportunity to see pieces from all the city’s neighbourhoods in one place. Furthermore, after years of using the Maritime Museum as its venue, the exhibition has returned to the Casa de la Caritat. From 17 to 23 September Highlight: inaugural procession of the ‘Cap a la Festa!’ exhibition.

Climbing dragons, bashful dragons, rampant she-dragons and all kinds of beasts derived from an unbridled imagination, gargoyles, genets, pigs, and even mosquitoes! All of these beasts belong to Barcelona festival fire groups and they never miss their annual turn in the City Hall’s foyer for the dragon and fire beast exhibition. From 17 to 23 September Highlight: the Procession of Beasts.