La Mercè is a festival that takes place in late September all over Catalonia. It’s a pretty big event, and there’s tons of stuff to do. There are loads of free concerts, ranging from local orchestras to popular bands.
This year’s biggest pop concert was held in the Estrella beer factory and the headliner was Mando Diao. Other things to do include watch the castellers, go to wine-tastings, watch a parade of paper giants, see the fireworks/fountain spectacular at Montjuïc, and see a correfoc.
I wish I’d taken better advantage of it, but I was too exhausted from my insane work schedule/terrible job to go to many of the events. Oh well, there’s always next year! But the things I did make it to this year were really cool, and it was fun to see some of the Catalan traditions as they’re done today. Actually, I’ve been doing pretty well regarding Catalan traditions this week! Last night I went to a city-wide tapas competition – you go around to different bars who offer their signature tapa and a little beer for €2.40. Then you get a stamp on your voting ballot, and at the end of the night choose the best one. So much fun, and so cheap! Tonight I’m going to an F.C. Barcelona match, and tomorrow I’m going to a cava factory and Monserrat. Yay for Catalonia!
What to see at La Mercè:
One thing I made it to that I’ve been wanting to see for a while was the castellers (the castlers). This is a Catalan tradition of making human towers. It’s seriously amazing to see! They start with a base of strong guys, and build up, the people getting smaller and smaller as they go up. The people at the very top are actually kids! These towers are realllllly tall, so they wear helmets, but I’m pretty sure that’s not enough to really protect them if they fall. Also, Wikipedia kindly informed me that castell-ing is a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” (fancy!).
|This is how they sold lottery tickets!|
I was lucky to go this year, as the castellers broke a record for the tallest tower of a certain formation. Most of the time, one person stands on the shoulders of two people, but this time, it was one to one. Imagine being the bottom person – you would have a stack of five or six people on your shoulders! It’s a crazy but incredible tradition, and I mayyyy have a go if I stick around here long enough!
There are stages all over the city, and there’s tons of great music to see. Just make sure to get there early! The festival features all kinds of music, so I’m pretty sure the phrase “something for everyone” is actually true here. There are also lots of great local markets to check out, and I had a great time just wandering around and seeing what I came across. Every corner and square has something really cool to discover during these festivals.