Feel the festive fun in Barcelona this Christmas: interactive nativity scene, New Year’s Eve and the Three Kings Parade

The city is gearing up for a Christmas brimming with activities, technology, new features and a return to the traditions which came to a halt because of the pandemic.

13/12/2022 10:28 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The nativity scene makes a return to Plaça Sant Jaume on 16 December as one of the Christmas traditions which generates the greatest expectation among people in Barcelona, this year adopting a completely technological format.

This year’s nativity scene offers an interactive video mapping projection on the façade of the City Hall, enabling people in the city to take part using a mobile app.

Created by the multidisciplinary studio Onionlab, the project consists of a central image along with various windows that open onto different universes. Each of the scenes recreated represents a typical Christmas tradition in Barcelona.

More participation

Besides its digital and technological dimension, the main change with this year’s nativity scene in Pl. Sant Jaume is that everybody will be able to participate in its design with their mobile. The installation thus becomes a digital game where citizens can engage in fun exchanges, such as putting their names on the characters in the scene, feeding the gift-pooping tió Christmas log or writing their letter to the Three Kings.

The nativity scene will be projected at 5.30 pm, 10 pm or 11 pm, depending on the day. Details can be found on the Christmas website.

Regaining New Year’s Eve

In a call to unite peoples, harmony, understanding and everything which brings people together, the city is once again set to see out the year in Av. Reina Maria Cristina.

After two years conditioned by the pandemic, the city regains the celebration in the avenue with a huge festival of light, sound and fireworks, where the most innovative technology also plays its part.

With their ample experience in large-format outdoor events, the French company Groupe F will be tasked with the design, production and execution of this year’s show, directed by Christophe Berthonneau.

The ceremony is organised into two parts of 12 minutes, combining a vision of tradition and the celebration or cultures of origin with the use of latest-generation resources such as drones.

New parade for the Three Kings

Melcior, Gaspar and Balthasar will be making a return to Barcelona on 5 January. As ever, they’ll reach the city on board the schooner Santa Eulàlia and will be welcomed at 4 pm by the Mayor, Ada Colau, in Pl. Portal de la Pau. There they will be given bread and salt as a sign of hospitality, along with the keys to the city so they can enter all its homes.

But Their Majesties come with some changes. The Three Kings Parade sets off from Av. Marquès de l’Argentera at 6 pm but this year follows a new route, taking in Pg. Colom and then Av. Paral·lel, Rda. Sant Pau, C/ Urgell, C/ Sepúlveda as far as Av. Reina Maria Cristina, and ending up at the Magic Fountain in Montjuïc at 9 pm

The route is not the only new aspect though, as this year’s Three Kings Parade has three new floats. Each king will have a new double-decker float, while a further three, each measuring 20 metres, will be for the Page Estel, for toys and for dreaming instructions. This last float is designed to remind little ones and not-so-little ones what to do to get to sleep on this very special night.

The royal entourage will be making its way around the streets of Barcelona in a giant parade, the largest participatory street display in the city at over a kilometre long. The parade is possible thanks to over a thousand helpers, including dancers, actors, stilt-walkers and volunteers. Over 20 organisations and schools in the city will be helping create the parade, with 12 professional companies involved.

As with previous years, the Three Kings Parade seeks to be inclusive, with the participation of organisations for people with functional diversity and the introduction of sign language into the choreographies for the show.


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