Festivals and Public Holidays
One does not sleep! For those who came to seek the sun in Spain, a surprise awaits them: the night...
The Spanish night life is one of the most developed in Europe, maybe of the world. At night, the street belongs to night birds who swarm in the most animated districts. Any pretext is good to organize a party.
The origin of these festivals are religious. A very strong Catholicism recovered all the pagan and accepted them. April 23, one celebrates almost everywhere in Catalonia the day of the book (Sant Jordi), but we also have "the patum in Berga", the carnivals, the "Pastorets". At Easter there are the "Caramelles", and the "mones de Pascua", the fights between "moros and cristianos" the festival of Gracia in Barcelona between the 15 and the 21 of August which is a contest on street decoration.
Barcelona Holidays in central town & Catalonia
- January 6th : This is the day of the arrival of the "Three Kings from the Orient" on the 5th when there is a cavalcade, and the 6th when both children and adults receive toys and gifts.
- End of February : The Carnivals, held in February, are becoming more and more popular again after they were forbidden during the dictatorship, and St. Valentines Day (February 14th) is also increasing in its popularity. On March 3rd the popular festivity of Sant Medir is held in Grácia and there is a cavalcade and singing choirs.
- Mars : Holy Week begins with the palm fair which is held on Palm Sunday. It continues with the typical religious festivities and ends on Easter Monday which is pagan in origin.
- April 23rd : These are the celebrations in honor of Sant Jordi (St. George), the patron saint of Catalonia. It also coincides with the rose and book festivals. In may a flower show is held, and on the 11th there is the typical festival of Sant Ponç held in El Hospital street by the city's herbalists.
- May 20th : Pascua Granada.
- Beginning of June : SONAR A party that lasts 4 days. You'll find there the best DJ'S.
A book Fair is held in the Passeig de Gracia in June and during the same month there is a Trade Exhibition in Montjuic, the Corpus Christi celebrations with the typical processions of "giants" and "cabezudos", and the "l´Ou com Balla" (the dancing egg) which takes place in the fountain in the Cathedral cloister.
- June 24th : The most important celebration during the month of June is undoubtedly the Eve of Sant Joan (St. John). This is celebrated both in private houses and in public places, and there is dancing and the typical "coca", as well as bonfires in some streets and squares, and fireworks.
- From the end of June onwards : the Festival of "el Grec" begins. This consists of a series of theatrical performances as well as dancing, concerts, and other cultural events. These take place either at the Greek Theatre in Montjuic, in the open air, or in certain other places in the city. There are also many sports tournaments and competitions as well as several trade fairs at the Exhibition Centre.
- August 15th : Feast of the Assumption, there are popular festivities held in the district of Gracia.
- September 11th : This is a national holiday in Catalonia and they hold various official and political ceremonies.
- September 24th : Festivity of La Merce, the patron saint of Barcelona, there are typical dances such as "sardanas", parades through the streets, important sporting events (e.g. sailing, regattas, judo, swimming, walking races), religious celebrations, etc.
- October 12th : Santa Pilar y Fiesta de la hispanidad.
- December: Santa Lucia, the typical crib fair begins in the vicinity of the Cathedral, and this goes on right up until Christmas. It is also the start of the opera season at El Liceu and the time for concerts at the Palace of Music (Palau de la Musica). These events continue for several months.
Christmas is traditionally celebrated at home with the family and with the newly-revived custom of "fer cagar el tio" (this consists of putting an object similar to a tree trunk into the fire from which presents then come out). Christmas dinner takes the form of "escudella" and turkey, "torrons" (a kind of nougat).
New year is celebrated in bars, restaurants, and in the street where people wear fancy dress just like in the carnivals. As the clock strikes twelve they eat the twelve grapes in time with each chime.