Legend has it that on the night of September 24th, 1218, Our Lady of Mercy appeared to King James the First, to St. Peter Nolasc and to St. Ramon de Penyafort asking them to create an order of monks dedicated to saving imprisoned Christians.
Some centuries later, Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts and the citizens asked the Virgin to save them. Once finished the plague, the City Council named her the patroness of Barcelona, although Pope Pius IX did not ratify the decision until two centuries later, in 1868.
Since then, Barcelona began to celebrate its festival around September 24th. With some ups and downs throughout history, the Mercè becomes a truly popular festival with the arrival of democracy, filling with activities a large number of public spaces and with a program focused on Mediterranean culture that reaches our days with a mixture of tradition and shows of the latest trends.
Currently, the Merce presents a program with more than 600 activities and performances featuring over 2,000 artists and professionals, and gathers around 2,000,000 viewers. With so many proposals, where do we start?
Castellers, gegants and shows
The ideal plan will depend on the tastes of everyone and on what you are looking to discover during your stay in Barcelona, but will always be much more interesting if done with a local who complements the experience with information about the tradition, culture or history. In this context, our guides and personalized tours can help you create the best tailor-made plan.
Tradition and music to enjoy the Saturday
An example of a proposal for Saturday September 24th, day of the Mercè, start at 8am. in the morning with a tour following the gralla players (typical catalán wind instrument), to finish in the Plaza Sant Jaume with Ball de Gegants – Dance of Giants.
We will continue down Las Ramblas to reach the Plaza de la Merce and see the castellers form their pilars of honor, before the start of the procession of la Mercè, which will return us to the Plaza Sant Jaume. There we get to be spectators of one of the most important days of the year, in which all of the casteller troupes of the city concentrate and try to overcome their best castells.
By the end of the casteller’s competition, we have the opportunity to eat something in the área, and then head to the Ciutadella Park to spend the afternoon, where we will find a large number of outdoor shows: The Ba Lady Theater, with its offer of object and puppetry theater, Broda Bos and his urban dance or 2Faced dance Company and its contemporary dance mixed with break dancing could be any of the proposals not to miss.
Concerts in Barcelona during La Mercè
We continue with music and new technologies in the BAM, at the Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm, where we find different activities for all ages and music by the songwriter Lloyd Cole among others.
After a snack for dinner, we move to the Barceloneta to enjoy the combination of sea and fireworks provided by pyrotechnic Vaquero. A diversity of shapes and colors to start the evening party that can be extended until dawn with concerts at the Parc del Forum, where we expect, in that order: La Sra. Tomasa, mixing Latin music with the newest electronic trends, Dani Lança, musician, performer and composer immersed in the African, lyrical and Hindu chant, Manu Chao, singer and symbol of the alternative attitudes, and Dubioza Kolektiv, group from central europe that mixes hip-hop, reggae , dub, ska, rock and traditional sounds of Bosnian folklore.
This is only a proposal for a personalized route to celebrate the 24th September in Barcelona. Contact us and we will build your taylored tour!