One of the most important days of the year in Barcelona is la Mercè, a festival that honours the Virgin of Grace (Mare de Déu de la Mercè), co-patron saint of Barcelona along with Saint Eulàlia.
Celebrated since the Middle Ages, when Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts and asked for the Virgin’s assistance. After the plague was defeated, la Mercè was named patroness of the city of Barcelona and ever since the festival has been celebrated annually in honour of the Virgin.
This year la Mercè will feature a distinctly French accent. Paris is to be ‘guest city’, sending its artists and activities for all to enjoy.
From the 22nd to the 25th of September, Barcelona’s citizens and tourists will be able to enjoy performances by French artists such as the street and circus art cooperative 2r2, the prestigious theatre company Théâtre Silvia Monfort, and Centquatre in Paris. The highlight undoubtedly will be ‘Nuage’, in which acrobats will climb a ladder and jump onto a cloud suspended over the audience.
Traditional Catalan culture also will feature highly, of course, as la Mercè is one of the moments when Barcelona shows its folklore to the world.
Filling the streets will be typical Catalan customs such as ‘cercaviles’, in which giants and other carnival figures will explain the city’s history accompanied by live traditional music.
No festival in Catalunya is celebrated without as ‘correfoc’, a pyrotechnic display by ‘diables’ (devils) who dance whilst holding torches and throwing fireworks.
As well as a keeping tradition alive, La Mercè will also looksto the future and embrace new technology this year. A live real-time interactive show will take place between three spaces: the CCCB museum, Ciutadella Park and the Fabra i Coats building, in the Sant Andreu district. Performances taking place will be turned into one complete show that is broadcast in the three different venues.
This year’s la Mercè opens up to new areas of the city such as Trinitat Park and the Fabra i Coats facility, as well as the traditional central Barcelona streets where the event takes place.
La Mercè 2016 promises to be innovative and more exciting than ever. if you are in Barcelona this weekend, be sure to join the fun.