La Mercè festivities 2018: the 10 popular culture activities not to be missed on Sunday, 23 September
Moixiganga folk dance, Falcons acrobatic human-pyramid group, stick dance, sardana dancing, folk-dance group performance… these are some of the popular culture highlights for the eve of the la Mercè. On the Sunday of the annual festival, we can also enjoy the historic human tower performance of the Mercè, this year with the Castellers de Barcelona, els Minyons de Terrassa and Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls groups. Don’t miss the street parade organised to celebrate the centenary of the Schooner Santa Eulàlia, and the Xambanga de gegants, one of the craziest events of the annual festival!
Here is a summary of the day’s popular culture highlights, in chronological order:
- The Moixiganga folk dance of Barcelona. 10.15 am in Plaça Nova. Have you ever seen the Moixiganga? It’s a dance of human towers strongly related to the castles or dances of Valencians and the symbolism has a clear religious tone. After a long absence, a few years ago, a group was formed that has recovered this folk dance to have it become part of the annual festival celebrations.
- Falcons morning performance 10.30 am, Avinguda de la Catedral to Plaça de Sant Jaume. A display of acrobatic human towers, followed by a street parade, featuring the Falcons de Vallbona d’Anoia as the guest group.
- 68th Sardana-Dance Group Competition 11 am, on Avinguda de la Catedral. Groups from all over Catalonia see who can give the best sardana performance, the one that best adapts to the aesthetics and the music. This is one of the La Mercè’s most traditional events. With music by the Cobla Marinada music ensemble.
- Street parade and jousting for the Centenary of the Schooner Santa Eulàlia. 11.15 am from Palau de la Virreina to Portal de la Pau. The Schooner Santa Eulàlia is one hundred years old, and during the la Mercè Festival this year, the Maritime Museum will commemorate the anniversary with a street parade and a sea battle. The festival begins at Palau de la Virreina and carries on to Portal de la Pau with a parade of giants and beasts, and the music group Pare Manyanet. Back at the port, the Lance Sportive Sétoise water jousting will take place: sea battles from Provence in which two boats come face to face like knights in a mediaeval jousting duel.
- Historic human tower performance of the la Mercè. 12 pm at Plaça de Sant Jaume. The Palau de la Virreina is the starting point for a route of the human-tower groups invited by the hosts: the Castellers de Barcelona. The people of Barcelona and their guests -Minyons de Terrassa and Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls- go to the Plaça de Sant Jaume to create the most spectacular buildings. If you like castles, this is the chance to check out just how good all three formations are.
- Sardana dancing 1 pm, in Avinguda de la Catedral. This traditional Catalan ring dance will be performed by Sardana-Dance Groups Federation of Barcelona. With music by the Cobla Marinada music ensemble.
- Folk-dance group performance. 5 pm at Palauet Albèniz. The little palace and the gardens surrounding it fill up with music and dance on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Monday morning because all the folk-dancers invited to la Mercè pass through this venue. Come and see the folk-dance groups Maragall, Ciutat Comtal, Joventut Nostra, Sant Jordi del Foment Martinenc, Ballets de Catalunya, Gaudí, Sant Martí and Català de Dansaires in action.
- Sardana dancing 6 pm, in Plaça de Sant Jaume. The Agrupació Cultural Folklòrica de Barcelona is organising this popular dance-fest, featuring music performed by the Cobla Principal de Llobregat.
- Xambanga de Gegants. At 9 pm, from the Maritime Museum to the City Hall courtyard. From their provisional home at Drassanes, the giants and their masters will head towards Plaça de Sant Jaume, where they will spend the night to make sure they make their appointment the next day. However, they’ll make the most of their trip to party! Want to join in? Come and follow them on their route through the streets of Ciutat Vella. Route: Portal de Santa Madrona, La Rambla, Ferran, Plaça Sant Jame.
- Carillon Concert: Fados, tangos and milongas. 9 pm, at the Palau de la Generalitat building. The really special sound of the Generalitat Carillon is a vital ingredient of Barcelona’s annual festival. This year, the Palau’s carillonist, Anna Maria Reverté, will remind us that Lisbon is the guest city with the sound of its bells. And apart from tangos and milongas, she will be playing a series of fados, the sound that best defines the Portuguese capital.