Every year during the last weekend of September Barcelona´s major festivities take place: La Mercé (September 24th).
The legend of La Mercé
La Mercé is the Virgin of Grace and has become the cities´ patron saint in 1687. After a plague of locusts had destroyed the fields and the crops in the Catalan countryside the local population asked for the virgin´s assistance in fighting the pestilence. Miraculously the locusts disappeared and as a thank you she became co-patroness to Santa Eulàlia. The latter became so sad that she usually cries on La Mercé Day – an above average rainy day in Barcelona weather history.
Though La Mercé has religious origins it has nowadays grown into a festival lasting for four days with hundreds of music, cultural, artistic and culinary events. The 24th of September is a public holiday in Barcelona meaning once you leave the municipality boarders you will encounter daily business as usual. La Mercé is a must do in Barcelona!
On Saturday, the 22nd, the Correfoc – the fire runs – will take place. Along Via Laietana in downtown Barcelona a parade of devils will light impressive fireworks. This tradition originates from the “Dance of Devils” known in Catalunya since the 12th century. After the Franco dictatorship this tradition has been revived and adapted to modern times. You should check this out during your Barcelona trip.
After that you can watch the fireworks by the beach before returning downtown to see a projection show on the Neptune fountain in the Ciutadella Park. Last year the invited partner city was Reykjavik. So Icelandic artists turned the fountain into an erupting volcano with a life performance of drummers. Check the exact programme here.
On Monday, the 24th, we can recommend the grand final of La Mercé. Traditionally, this takes place by the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc close to Plaza España. The fountain was built in 1929 for the International Exhibition and is the biggest ornamental fountain in Barcelona. The closing event is Piromusical – combining music, lights, water acrobatic and fireworks into a great spectacle.
Last year the first moments were dedicated to the victims of the Barcelona terrorist attack that took place in August 2017.
For more than 30 minutes you will be able to watch a fantastic choreography of water, lights and fireworks. La Mercé is a Barcelona must see event!
Things to do in Barcelona
- Correfoc for adults: Saturday, 22nd at 8.30 pm in Via Laietana
- Correfoc for children: Saturday, 22nd at 6.30 pm in Via Laietana
- Piromusical closing act: Monday, 24th at 10 pm in Avenida Reina Maria Cristina
- Fireworks at the beach: Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd at 10 pm at Barceloneta beach
- Website: https://www.barcelona.cat/lamerce/en
Private Tour Tip
Explore hidden streets with a guide: Get to know many more traditions and legends during this Barcelona walking tour with our local tour guides.