Festes de la Mercè is the biggest of all the annual festivals in Barcelona. It takes place on September 24th which celebrates the day of the city’s patron saint … the Virgin de la Merce. There are many events from the 22nd leading up to the 24th which is a public holiday. Events include the parade of the giants when a processions through the streets is made up of giant wooden figures (gegants) operated by people.
There are also sports events, musical performances, fantastic firework displays and plenty drinking as is the case at just about all festivals nationwide. There’s no better place to introduce yourself to Cava … Catalonia’s very own champagne.
One highlight that you must look out for is the competition for which groups of people can form the highest human tower. The best place to find the towers is in Placa de Sant Jaume where participants in traditional costume (castellers) climb on top of one another until they can hold no more. This human tower often reaches around eight levels.
You’ll find plenty information about Barcelona online to help you plan your visit and once you arrive be sure you go to the tourist information office above Plaza Catalunya (opposite Corte Inglés) to get a programme of events so that you’ll know exactly where and when everything is taking place.
If you’re in the area a few weeks later it’s well worth checking out Cava Week (around October 12th) when people from Barcelona board the Cava train and head out to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia which is home to most of the main Cava producers.