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Barcelonas and Beyond #003 - Monday 19th to Sunday 25th September
September 17, 2016
Welcome to the third issue of Barcelonas and Beyond, which covers the week Monday 19th to Sunday 25th September. This week we're looking forward to the Festes de Sant Tecla in Tarragona and the Festes de la Mercè in Barcelona.
I send the newsletter every Saturday with information for the coming week starting the following Monday mixture of what to do information, including festivals, concerts and of course football so please feel free to pass this email on to your friends and contacts.
Santa TeclaThe Saints Day of Santa Tecla is Friday 23rd September and she is patron saint of a number of Catalan towns and an excuse for festivals in Roda de Ter in Osona and Sitges, the popular resort 45 minutes south of Barcelona. However, the main festival, and the one I suggest you go to, if at all possible, is the Festes de Sant Tecla in Tarragona.
The Festes de Santa Tecla actually began in Tarragona on Thursday September 15th and two of the main days are the Diades Castelleres on Sunday 18th and on Santa Tecla itself, September 23rd. These are two of the biggest days in the Castells calendar so if you haven't seen the fabulous Catalan human towers before, they are highly recommended.
You can expect all the typical Festa Major fun with music, performances and activities but as Santa Tecla is considered of special interest by both the Catalan and Spanish governments, the traditional events are particularly colourful. I recommend the Mostra de Folklore Viu and the
procession of the Seguici Popular.
Les Festes de la MercèLes Festes de la Mercè are definitely one of the highlights of the year in Barcelona as the streets of the Catalan capital fill with music and processions. Everything kicks off on Thursday 22nd when there is the opening ceremony in Plaça de Sant Jaume with the pregó or opening speech from the balcony of City Hall. This is followed by traditional dancing and music featuring the ornate figures, such as the Gegants and the Eagle, of the Seguici Popular.
Apart from music on the streets and in the squares of the city centre, namely Plaça de Sant Jaume, Plaça del Rei and Plaça Reial, this year there are family events and concerts on Montjuïc, in the Parc de Ciutadella and out in the Parc de la Trinitat.
The big day will be Saturday 24th September, which is the Dia de la Mercè, when there will be Castells in Plaça de Sant Jaume followed by the marvellous procession round the streets of the city centre.
This Week in Catalonia Radio ShowEvery Wednesday at 12 0'clock midday, I host a radio show on Barcelona City FM 107.3 with my colleague Jordi Vilanova.
This week we have Adrià Alsina as our guest. Adrià is a journalist and has recently become publicity officer for the Catalan National Assembly, who organised the massive Diada demonstration last week. We'll be taking an inside look at last week's Diada demonstration and the current state of the Catalan independence process.
If you miss the show, I generally post the podcast of the show to our website late on Wednesday. Click here to vist the This Week in Catalonia website
This Week's FootballAs I'm writing this newsletter on the morning of Saturday 17th September, this weekend's results are still a mystery. However, I was really pleased by Barça's 7-nil drubbing of Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday and I've got my fingers crossed for an Espanyol victory against Real Madrid in Cornellà on Sunday night.
There are mid-week games this week and Barça are playing the very tasty Atlético de Madrid at home in Camp Nou on Wednesday 21st at 10 pm while Espanyol are away to Osasuna on Thursday 22nd at 8 pm.
On Saturday 24th, FC Barcelona play Sporting de Gijón away in El Molinón at 4.15 pm and Espanyol are at home to Celta de Vigo at 8.45 pm on Sunday 25th.
This Week's Historical and Cultural HighlightsMonday September 19th
On September 19th 1809, the people of Girona resisted a ferocious attack by the French troops that had the city under siege during the Peninsular War. The event is known as "The Great Day of Girona" and contributed to the nickname Girone the Immortal.
The Jewish convert, Dominican friar and theologian accused of heresy, Ramon de Tàrrega, died in Barcelona on September 20th 1371.
September 21st is the Saints Day of Sant Mateu, which as it is still just about summer, is an excuse for Festa Majors in Esplugues de Llobregat and Vallirana both in el Baix Llobregat south of Barcelona and in Sant Mateu de Bages inland.
In 1859, September 21st was the day on which Francesc Macià, the legendary president of Generalitat of Catalonia, was born in Vilanova i la Geltrú.
The theatrical Catalan singer-songwriter, Albert Pla, was born in Sabadell on September 22nd 1966. You should definitely try to catch him live if you can.
Obviously September 23rd is Santa Tecla, which is the main day of the Festa Major in Tarragona and also the main day of the Festes de Stanta Tecla in Sitges and Calldetenes in Osona.
On September 23rd 1461, Carles de Viana, the Catalans' preferred heir to throne of the Crown of Aragon, died. He had probably been poisoned by his step-mother, Joana Enríquez, who wanted her son Fernando to become king.
On September 23rd 1938, after having participated in a number of battles in the Spanish Civil War, the International Brigades were forced to withdraw from the conflict after pressure from the Non-Intervention Committee.
September 24th is the Saints' Day of the Mare de Déu de la Mercè and the main day of Barcelona's Festa Major. What's more Camp Nou, FC Barcelona's stadium, was opened on September 24th 1957.
September 25th is the Saints Day of La Mare de Déu de Misericòrdia, which literally means charity, so it's appropriate that September 25th 2011 marks the date of the last bullfight in Catalonia, which was held at La Monumental bull ring in Barcelona.
Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical PerspectiveYou can find out much more about the historical background to Catalonia's claims for independence in my 2014 book Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective
Find out more about the book here
With each newsletter, I plan to add a new section and this week it's the turn of Barcelona shows and concerts. Obviously, with La Mercè on, there'll be plenty of music in the streets but if you want a particularly authentic Barcelona experience, I can highly recommend taking in some flamenco. There are plenty of options, including the Palau de la Música and the Tablao de Carmen, but I really like the shows at Palua Dalmases myself.
Another great option is to catch one of the summer classical music, mainly guitar, concerts at one of the city centre Gothic churches, such as Santa Anna or SAnta Maria del Pi, before the programme closes for the winter. The acoustics are marvellous and the surroundings are breathtaking so if you like classical music, it's a very special experience.
Anyway, that's about it for this week, if you want to keep up to date with all the new information I'm creating, make sure you visit Barcelonas.com regularly.
All the best
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