If you want to welcome autumn in true Catalan style, don’t miss the Barcelona La Mercè, an annual festival dating from 1871, to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Mare de Deu de la Mercè (Our Lady of Mercy). As the Patron Saint of Barcelona, her legendary powers ranged from helping liberate the Christian monks, who were held captive by the Saracens at the times of the religious wars in the 13th century, to freeing the city of pestilence in the 17th century. More recently, the history of the festival la Mercè had its interruptions, notably during the Civil War and the era of Franco. However, with the establishment of democracy after Franco, La Mercè has once again became the most popular annual festival celebrated by the city.
The streets of Barcelona will be buzzing with celebratory events and parades, including papier maché giants, traditional dances and, a more recently introduced tradition, the Catalan Wine Fair. One of the undisputed highlights of the festival is Correfoc (fire runs), which take place in Via Laietana, one of the main thoroughfares in central Barcelona. There are two types of Correfoc on the same evening, one for children, and another later in the evening, featuring ‘the devils’, a group who dress as devils and run down the street with hand held fireworks, and accompanied by fire breathing ‘dragons’.
Another festival highlight is the Castellers event, which takes in the Plaça de Jaume. This consists of building a very high and impressive human tower (about six people high), with the addition of a young child right at the top. It’s worth arriving early for all events, with the inevitable huge turn-out of both locals and visitors.
Where to Stay?
Still available for the festival dates is Carrer de València 3, contemporary 3-bedroom apartment, located very centrally in the traditional residential area of the Eixample district, very close to Passieg de Gracia, and just a short walk from the famous Las Ramblas.
This beautiful apartment is light and bright, with large windows, white walls and wooden floors throughout. The open-plan living room opens to delightful private terrace, furnished with garden furniture. The master bedroom also opens to the terrace. There is also another double bedroom and a single bedroom, so the apartment sleeps five people in total.