This summer, enjoy local festivitiesSummer in Barcelona is synonymous with neighbourhood parties and celebrations. Some of the most popular are the Virgen del Carmen in Barceloneta, the Gracia neighbourhood festival and the Sants Festival.
Barcelona celebrates its day in September, with the well-known party of La Mercè. It lasts 5 days and this year it will take place between September 20 and 24. But each neighbourhood also has its patron saint and celebrates its own festival, since the origin of many of these holidays is in the Catholic tradition. This is why districts celebrate their annual festivity on their patron saint’s day. Some of the best-known festivities take place during the summer, between the months of July and August.
Verge del Carme in the Barceloneta
The Verge del Carme is the patron saint of sailors since, according to the legend, she saved a boat that was drifting during a storm. That’s why, Barcelona’s fishing district par excellence, Barceloneta, celebrates its festival in honour of this virgin every July.
Although the day of the Virgen del Carmen is on July 16, the neighbourhood enjoys this festivity on Saturday, which is the July 13 this year. The celebration is especially known for the procession that starts at 5pm and goes from Saint Michael’s Church to the Fishermen’s Dock. There, the faithful raise the image of the virgin to a golondrina (ship) and continue with a maritime procession that runs through the waters of the port. The festival ends with havaneres, a musical style that has its origins in Cuba and that became very popular in Europe, especially in the coastal areas of Catalonia.
The Virgen del Carmen is also the patron saint of the Carmel neighbourhood and the Raval neighbourhood. This last one also celebrates its annual festivity in those same dates; in 2019, between July 11 and 14.
Festes de Gracia
Gracia’s annual festival is celebrated every summer for a week, starting on August 15 (Day of the Assumption of Mary) and finishing on the 21st. This celebration shows many aspects of the district’s popular and traditional culture, and it is especially known for the decoration of the streets of the neighborhood. We find very original and creative decorations and each street competes to win one of the prizes that are given every year.
The Festes de Gracia are possible thanks to the neighbourhood associations that organize a part of the festival, each one focusing on its street or square. Their participation translates into decorated streets, concerts, castells (human towers), food and drinks, and activities for the whole family. You can check the schedule on the website of the Fundació Festa Major de Gràcia.
Festa Major de Sants
Sants celebrates its annual festivity shortly after the end of the Gracia’s festival. Although the two celebrations are known for the decoration of streets and squares, they also have unique characteristics that make them very popular in the city. One of the most important events of the Sants Festival is its correfoc, a pyrotechnic show that runs through the streets of the district, organized by the four groups of diables in the neighbourhood.
The Sants Festival begins on August 24, in honour of Sant Bartomeu, patron of the neighbourhood, and ends on September 1.