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Festivals and Holidays

Overview of public holidays and festive days

The Catalans like to celebrate. Whether it's the name day of their holy city or the beginning of spring, the people fill the streets with color, music and entertainment for young and old.

The various festivals and holidays reflect the Spanish, Catalan and Barcelonian traditions. The costliest celebrations take place during the day of the Holy Sant Joan, 23 June and on the day of the festival la Mercè on 24 of September. The most beautiful festival in the opinion of many is Sant Jordi (Saint George) on 23 April. The town is decorated with roses and books stalls on this day. You should not miss a fire run (Correfoc), Giant (Gegants), one of the many people Towers (Castellers) and a Sardana (Catalan folk dance).

Here you'll find the bank holiday overview.

January

New Year's Eve (December 31 - January 1)

New Year's Eve and Christmas

You can read more about New Year's Eve in Barcelona in our New Year's Eve special.

It is not worth climbing on a mountain because of an alleged fireworks on New Year's Eve. There are none (or only very occasionally). It is worth more to spend the New Year's Eve on one of the many squares. Traditionally, all parties in Barcelona, as in Spain, are paused twelve seconds before 12am to encourage the new year by eating twelve grapes - one grape in each second. This will bring luck for the next twelve months.

Holy procession of the Three Kings (January 5)

In Port Vell (Old Port), the "Magos" land with their ship and move, while making a long procession, through the city. Their train is lined with old and young and they throw candies to the children. The children awake in the morning of the 6th January with their gifts, which the Holy three kings brought.

February

Carnival, Carnival in Barcelona

Carnival in Barcelona

For detailed information about Carnival in Barcelona, see the Barcelona.de special.

The carnival in 2015 begins at February 12 and ends on February 18. From Thursday to Green Ash Wednesday the realm of Carnestoltes governs Barcelona. This big-bellied Prince leads the city's business and creates masked balls, huge festivals and processions with creative costumes. The processions and ceremonies in Sitges, just 30 minutes from Barcelona, are worth a visit.

The many festivities begin with the arrival of King Carnestoltes. The highlight is the "Gran Rua", the grand procession, with hundreds of masked participates and thousands of bystanders.

Each district is celebrating the carnival in its own way.

March

Festival de Sant Medir de Gràcia

The festival of Sant Medir takes place during the first week of March, a long procession of pack animals and riders on the most beautiful horses meets at the square "Plaza Rius i Taulet" in the district of Gracia. The colourful flags of the clubs that organize this festival, flutter in the wind. Then they ride to a picnic on the Arrabassada to the hermitage of Saint Sant Medir - patron of the bean. After noon the procession returns back and on the Gran de Gracia the rider throws sweets into the crowd.

Barcelona Marathon

Since 1978, the marathon takes place once a year. For more information and to register einemn link can be found in our Barcelona special marathon.

Easter week for Semana Santa

The first important date of Easter week is Palm Sunday. On this day the Padrinos (godparents) give their baptised children some decorated intertwined palm leafs. This gift is followed by the "Mona", creations from chocolate. Meanwhile less traditional characters such as Harry Potter are becoming successful.

Easter in Barcelona

During the Easter procession hundreds of people carry statues of Maria and Jesus under the accompanied drum rolls and trumpet statues through the old town of Barcelona.

April

Sant Jordi (April 23)

Many people think that Sant Jordi (Saint George) is the most beautiful festival in Barcelona. The date of Sant Jordi, the patron of Catalonia, is also known as the "Day of the book", because the most important poet of spain, Cervantes, died and Shakespeare was born on an 23 of April.

The tradition wants that the man gives the woman a rose and the woman gives the man a book. Couples (and not just married couples) of all ages stroll through the streets, with a rose in her hand or a book under the arm. It is a beautiful picture, millions of red roses. The Palace of the generals is a popular destination on this day, where each year an exhibition of roses is presented.

For more information on Sant Jordi can be found in our Barcelona.de Sant Jordi special.

May

Formula 1

The "Curcuit de Catalunya" is located about 20 km north of Barcelona next to the small community of Montmeló. The route often is used as a test track by the teams. The demanding circuit with lots of fast and slow corners offers the audience certainly an exciting race. On Barcelona.de you can buy tickets to racing events at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Tamborinada

A day for children in the Ciutadella Park with theatre, dancing giants and music. Also, the Feria de Abril will take place at this time of year, an originally Andalusian festival with music, dance, food and a lot of wine.

Sant Ponç

On 11 Mai you can see many stands with honey, herbs and spices, fruits, wines, herbs and other natural products in the street Carrer Hospital. This is part of the celebrations of the Holy Sant Ponç, the patron saint of beekeepers and herbal specialists.

June

Corpus Cristi - L'ou com Balla

Corpus Christi will be held in June with parades of giant and carnival figures with big heads. The tradition of "L'ou com balla" (means "the dancing egg") dates back to the 16th Century. People put an empty egg-shell on the spurt of a with many flowers decorated fountain. It's hard to believe but the ess actually dances on the water spurt, sometimes it falls down but it climbs right back up on the top of the spurt. This phenomenon can be found at all fountains in the city.

Festival Sónar

Barcelona Festival Sónar

One of the most important and biggest festival for electronic music in Europe.

For three days and three nights you will experience the latest developments and trends in music with famous national and international artists. The Sónar presents more than 300 different events with DJs, concerts, cinema and art objects of all kinds in multimedia format: installations, Net art, design, etc.
Click here for more info. Here you can order tickets.

Grec

June is the month of festivals. The Festival Grec series begins in June, reaches its peak in July and goes on into August. The Grec offers a wide range of cultural events, from theatre of dance music and cinema events under the open sky. 

Click here for more information.

Sant Joan

The summer solstice in Catalonia is on 23 June on the day of the Holy Sant Joan, celebrated with campfires and fireworks and fire-crackers in all streets. In the shortest night of the year, huge wood fire in all places and roads are built and young and old celebrate until the morning hours.

August

Festa Major de Gràcia

On 15 August the city festival begins in the district Gràcia along with the holiday of Assumption Day. It lasts until 21 August. The inhabitants of the various roads make a competition to see who has the most beautifully decorated street. In this context, there are hundreds of events under the open sky with live concerts in every street, theaters and chocolate for children, paella dinner for the older. The events last far into the night.
Note: book hotel rooms early, Festa Major, over 2 million visitors.

September

Catalan National Day (September 11)

The "Diada" is the National Day of Catalonia. On this day Catalonia thinks of its defeat to the forces of King Philip V of Borbón and that from then Catalonia was no longer an independent nation. Many events are held throughout Catalonia.

La Mercè

City festival La Mercè

24 September is the day of the Holy Mercè, Holy patron of Barcelona. This week the city festival is celebrated with many concerts (free), and parades of giant figures, fireworks, Correfocs.

Information is available on the Barcelona.de "La Mercè" special.

December

The December is quite the character of Christmas.

Christmas market (from 13 December)

The Christmas market is around the cathedral. Here you can find a variety of Christmas cribs, Christmas trees, crafts and Christmas decorations. The market takes place up until 6 January.

Christmas (December 25)

Christmas and New Year's Eve

You can read more about New Year's Eve in Barcelona in our New Year's Eve special.

The first Christmas Day is traditionally the day of gift giving. More on Christmas in Barcelona you find in our Christmas special.

2nd Christmas Day (St. Stephen)

The 26th December in Catalonia is the continuation of the Christmas holidays and is celebrated with a family dinner.

Winter swimming

Takes place on 26.12. in the dock. Hundreds, mostly young people plunge into the cold water.

Further details can be found in our Barcelona.de special Easter.




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