Grallers [chanter players] morning call
Early in the morning, a group of chanter players [grallers] parading through the Barri Gòtic streets will remind you that the city is celebrating its annual winter festival. Answer the call! Come out and enjoy the St Eulalia festivities.
Street parade [cercavila] led by the little giantess Laia
Route: Palau de la Virreina, La Rambla, Boqueria, Call and Plaça Sant Jaume
On the patron saint’s day, Giantess Laia leaves her exhibition companions at the Palau de la Virreina for a while to go to Plaça de Sant Jaume at the head of a music parade. There she will greet the Mayor of Barcelona and pay tribute to the St Eulalia banner.
Hanging the St Eulalia banner
Sunday, 12 February kicks of with the traditional hanging of the St Eulalia banner on the City Hall’s main balcony by the mayor and city councillors. The little giantess Laia will do her traditional little dance or balladeta to the sound of the national anthem, Els Segadors, and everybody will salute the St Eulalia banner, which will preside over the day's events.
12th Lacemaker’s Gathering
Five hundred lacemakers from all over Catalonia set out their cushions, threads, bobbins, patterns and needles all along Carrer dels Arcs and Portal de l’Àngel to demonstrate the art of making bobbin lace, a hugely important activity in the Catalan textile industry between the 18th and the mid-20th century. Don’t miss the unmistakeable sound of the thousands of wooden bobbins under the deft movements of the fingers of the craftswomen that keep this tradition alive.
Els Falcons de Barcelona
Street parade: 10 am.
Route: Plaça Nova, Carrer del Bisbe, Plaça de Sant Jaume.
The Falcons of Barcelona will parade from Plaça Nova along Carrer del Bisbe where they will garland a figure in honour of the patron saint in front of the St Eulalia door, which leads into the Cathedral cloister. In Plaça de Sant Jaume, the Falcons will construct their spectacular human figures, defying gravity with their impressive balancing ability. Apart from their classic constructions, such as the stairs and the pyre, the Falcons always like to innovate and take risks to bring us new figures.
The Falcons of Barcelona were introduced to the St Eulalia festivities in 2003 and their origin lies in the Sokol [‘falcon’ in Czech], a gymnastics association created in Prague in 1862 which extended its model to several European countries, including Catalonia, where it was launched around 1928.
40th Gathering of the Ciutat Vella Giants and the St Eulalia Entourage
11.30 am, start of the entourage procession Sunday
12.00 noon, Baixada de Santa Eulàlia: St Eulalia’s Dance performed by the New Giants of Plaça Nova and wreath-laying ceremony.
1.15 pm, Plaça de Sant Jaume: Laia, City Eagle and City Giants dances, and St Eulalia's Dance, by the New Giants of Plaça Nova. Route: Plaça Reial, Passatge de Colom, La Rambla, Carrer de la Portaferrissa, Plaça de la Cucurulla, Carrer dels Boters, Plaça Nova, Carrer del Bisbe, Carrer de Sant Sever, Baixada de Santa Eulàlia, Carrer dels Banys Nous, Carrer de Ferran, Plaça de Sant Jaume (arriving about 12.45 pm)
The giants of all Barcelona’s festival giant groups, and one or more from outside the city will come together in this large gathering in Plaça Reial before joining the St Eulalia entourage. This is one of the oldest and most ceremonious events of the annual winter festival. The first gathering, held in 1983, with only two festival groups, was the beginning of the contemporary St Eulalia celebrations.
The small giantess Laia and the St Eulalia banner lead the street parade [cercavila], followed by the Eagle, the Lion and the other members of the historical and festive beasts. Then, led by the City Giants, the rest of the giants, dwarfs and small giants gathered on the square join the entourage, which will take them to Plaça de Sant Jaume. At 1.15 pm, Laia, the Eagle and the City Giants will perform their dances, followed by the New Giants of Plaça Nova performing St Eulalia’s dance.
Diada Castellera de Santa Eulàlia
The Barcelona, Sants, Vila de Gràcia, El Poble-sec, Sagrada Família, Barcelona Youth and Sarrià human-tower groups [colles castelleres], along with Els Esquerdats.
They will start building human towers at 11.00 am in Plaça de Sant Jaume, opposite the City Hall’s balcony. This marks the beginning of the festival season with the first human tower event of the year. The groups have a time limit of 60 minutes to build all their structures.
Double session of sardanas
The St Eulalia festivities mark the start of the sardana season, a ring dance that is a must at the annual festival. Find a ring, join in and enjoy the dance. Organised by Agrupació Cultural Folklòrica Barcelona.
The Laies Walk and St Eulalia Dance
Route: La Rambla, Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, Plaça del Pi and gathering of giants at Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, at 7 pm.
7.30 pm: Laias Walk [Passejada]. Route: Carrer del Pi, Plaça de la Cucurulla, Carrer dels Boters, Plaça Nova, Carrer del Bisbe, Carrer de Sant Sever, Baixada de Santa Eulàlia (Wreath-laying and St Eulalia Dance at around 7.50 pm), Carrer dels Banys Nous, Carrer de Ferran, Plaça de Sant Jaume (St Eulalia Dance, at 8.25 pm).
For St Eulalia Day, all Barcelona’s female giants change their name to the shorter form of Eulalia, ‘Laia’, to celebrate one of the oldest and most important events of the annual winter festival. After gathering together in Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, they will start a procession led by the Laias from Plaça Nova and by a smaller Laia taking them to Plaça de Sant Jaume.
Beforehand, however, at around 8 pm when they go down Baixada de Santa Eulàlia, the entourage stops in front of the patron saint’s image to perform a wreath-laying ceremony and to dance, to the sound of grallas, the St Eulalia Dance, led by Laia and Laieta, the new and old female giants from Plaça Nova. On Plaça de Sant Jaume, once the entire parade has passed below the St Eulalia banner on the City Hall balcony, the same giants will repeat the dance – in a long version for a cobla – in the middle of the square, accompanied by the Cobla Ciutat de Barcelona orchestra.
The festival wouldn't be a local festival without the sardanes!During the festivities for Santa Eulàlia it is traditional to hold a dance on the evening of 12 February, the Day of Santa Eulàlia.The music is always provided by the Cobla Sant Jordi - Ciutat de Barcelona, which performs the melodies that dozens of people from Barcelona dance to in circles.
The dancing concludes around 8.25 pm with the arrival of the giants which will be taking part in the ‘Passejada de les Laies’, when all the figures adopt the name of Laia and dance along to the sound of the cobla performing the Dance of Santa Eulàlia.
Don’t miss it!
At the end of the festival, the square will thunder with a great display of fireworks that will illuminate the sky of Barcelona to say goodbye, until next year, to Santa Eulàlia and the main winter festival.