Barcelona is an incredible city for enjoying the street parties that take place throughout the summer.
It is a time when the streets, squares and walkways are full of people looking to have a good time and enjoy the culture, gastronomy and history that the Ciudad Condal offers.
Some of these festivals are well-known beyond the borders of Barcelona and form part of the essence of the city.
The fiesta mayor of Gracia, of Sants or la Mercè are only some of them.
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Festival of Gracia
It is one of the most popular street parties that takes place in Barcelona during the summer.
Each year, beginning from the 15th of August, a famous competition takes places amongst the residents of Gracia involving the decoration of streets and balconies.
The most original design wins the prize, something which is difficult to do given that the bar is raised every year and you can find truly spectacular designs.
Also, you can enjoy concerts, popular dances and correfocs, dragons that spit fire from their mouths, amongst other things.
Festival of Sant Roc
The festival of Sant Roc is the oldest of the city and has been celebrated every year since the sixteenth century.
The name comes from San Roque, one of the most celebrated saints in Spain.
In Barcelona it is an historic party which takes places in the gothic quarter on the 16th of August.
Here you can see traditional sardanas (a Catalan dance), enjoy delicious panellets de Sant Roc and see the parade of ´giants´ with the younger members of your family.
It is a family festival which fills the streets around Plaza Nova and finishes with a firework display.
Festival of Sants
Since the mid-nineteenth century, festivals have taken place in Santa Maria de Sants, that at that time was a town independent of Barcelona.
The 24th of August is the official day, but it begins a few days early and lasts around a week.
The streets and squares of Sants are decorated and a competition takes place amongst the residents to win a popular vote about which is the prettiest.
The festivals of Sants and of Gracia maintain a healthy competition between each other, as they take place around the same days.
It is one of the prettiest weeks to spend in Barcelona, as you can enjoy two of the most stunning and famous festivals in the city.
Official Festival of Catalonia
On the 11th of September, all of Catalonia celebrates its official festival.
It is a day with celebrations, dances and songs in every part of Catalonia, so you can see all sorts of festive events as well as demonstrations in Barcelona and its surroundings.
Paradoxically, this day commemorates a defeat that Catalonia suffered against Bourbon troops, the day that Barcelona fell during the war of the Spanish Succession and became part of the Bourbon kingdoms.
For that reason, the 11th of September has a political tint, but it is also a day to get out the cava and dance some sardanas in the street.
Festival of La Mercè
And to say goodbye to the summer we have the Festival of la Mercè, which takes places from the 21st to the 24th of September.
This is the main festival of the city of Barcelona, so if you have the luck to be here on those days, prepare yourself for a festival of concerts, dances and fireworks.
During these days, the city offers free concerts in the most emblematic places of Barcelona, as well as traditional parades of giants, a Castells competition and sardanas.
It is a great way to get to know the culture and history of Catalonia first hand.