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 2017 will feature a distinctly Icelandic accent. Reykjavík is to be ‘guest city’, taking the occasion to delve into the shared projects of these two capitals as UNESCO Cities of Literature. The opening speech will be offered by Marina Garcés, tenured lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Saragoss and resident in Barcelona. After this, the celebrations begin.

From the 22nd to the 25th of September, Barcelona’s citizens and tourists will be able to enjoy the celebration that includes a number of activities where the audience is as important as the artists themselves. You can participate yourself in one of the performances or street art exibitions. During these days, find the participating artists in the venues for La Merce and join their project as part of the representation. You can, for example, take part in the organisation of a flash mob, among others.

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.

Taking the occasion to commemorate the 25th aniversary of the Barcelona ’92 Olympic Games, the designer and draftsman Javier Mariscal has been called to design the poster for this edition of La Mercè. From the reference to some of the city monuments, to the allusion to the importance of recycling, the work is full of conceptual signs that we point out once we take a deeply look into it.

This year’s La Mercè keeps the spirit of spreading all around the city and reopens up to areas of the city such as Trinitat Park, as well as the traditional central Barcelona streets where the event takes place.

La Mercè 2017 promises to be innovative and more exciting than ever. If you are in Barcelona this weekend, be sure to join the fun.

Header and source: Ajuntament de Barcelona