La Mercè 2013

Barcelona's Annual Festival

La Mercè 2013 Poster

La Mercè 2013 kicks off this year on Friday 20th September and finishes on Tuesday 24th - El Dia de la Mercè itself.

As you can see from the programme below, there will be all the usual traditional festivities featuring fire-breathing dragons, human towers and giants and big-headed dwarfs but this year is quite special because Barcelona commemorates the tricentenary of the Seige of Barcelona in 1714.

In case you didn't know, Catalonia backed the losing Austrian pretender in the War of Spanish Succession and suffered badly for its mistake at the hands of Felipe V's victorious Castilian and French troops.

Spunky as ever, it is for this reason that Barcelona has invited Vienna to be the guest city at La Mercè 2013 and the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra will be performing waltzes on Avinguda de la Catedral at various times and you will hear waltzes and many Viennese artists at both Parc de la Ciutadella and Castell de Montjuïc.

Eagle of Barcelona at La Mercè

With the recent opening of the excellent Centre Cultural in the Born Market both El Born and Parc de Ciutadella will be full of activities commemorating 300 years since the fall of Barcelona and Catalonia to the Spanish and French, including reenactments of life at the beginning of the 18th century and the Auca del Born dramatisation.

As every year, Montjuïc will be the scene for circus artists and street performers and the whole city will reverberate to the sound of La Mercè 2013 music programme as well as the parallel BAM Music Festival.

Also from around 9 pm every evening, you can see the wonderful 'Incredible Voyage to The Moon' light show projected on the main buildings in Plaça Sant Jaume.

I have listed the highlights of the traditional events below but ...

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La Mercè 2013
Traditional Events And Highlights

Friday 20th September

Although the Opening Speech or Pregó of La Mercè 2013 is being given by world famous chef Ferran Adrià this year, he will be speaking in Catalan so from a tourists point of view it will be of limited interest.

I recommend getting to Palau de la Virreina at 7 pm, where the Bestiari Popular - that's all the giants, eagles and strange processional beasts - are kept and then following the procession down for the Toc d'Inici in Plaça Sant Jaume where all the weird creatures are presented and give a little dance - it's brilliant!

  • 7 pm - Inaugural Sardana Dancing - Avinguda de la Catedral
  • 7 pm - Opening Speech - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 7 pm - Inaugural Procession - Palau de la Virreina
  • 7.45 pm - Opening Ceremony (Toc d’inici) - Plaça Sant Jaume

Projection Show - 9.15, 9.45, 10.15 and 10.45 pm - Plaça Sant Jaume

Saturday 21st September

MercèDansa is a great way to see all the traditional Catalan dances performed and then in the evening the Passejada de Dracs i Bèsties de Foc - Dragons and Fire-Breathing Beasts - is definitely a must.

  • 11 am - MercèDansa  - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 5 pm - Parade of the Colles de Falcons (teams that build human pyramids and towers) - Avinguda de la Catedral (start)
  • 6 pm - Sardana Dancing  - Avinguda de la Catedral
  • 7.45 pm - La Mercè Galop Dance  Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 9 pm - Parade of Fire-Breathing Dragons and Beasts - Plaça Sant Jaume (start)

Projection Show - 8.45, 9.45 and 10.45 pm - Plaça Sant Jaume

Castellers de Barcelona at La Mercè

Sunday 22nd September

As it's Sunday two of the big hihlights of La Mercè 2013 are on today - Castellers and the Correfoc.

I'm a massive fan of Castellers and if you haven't seen them in action they'll be in Plaça Sant Jaume from 12 o'clock throughout the afternoon.

The Little Devils' Correfoc is perfectly safe for kids but I'll be sticking around for the Real McCoy at 8.30 pm.

  • 10.30 am - Parade of the Falcons (human tower teams) of Barcelona - Avinguda de la Catedral (start)
  • 10.30 am - Stick Dancing Morning (Matí bastoner) - Plaça Sant Jaume (start)
  • 11 am - 63rd Contest of Sardana Dance Troupes - Avinguda de la Catedral
  • 11 am - Falcons Morning  - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 12 pm - Castellers Human Tower Festival - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 1 pm - Sardana Dancing - Avinguda de la Catedral
  • 5 pm - Drum Parade (La Tabalada) - Portal de l’Àngel (start)
  • 6 pm - Sardana Dancing - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 6 pm - Choir Concert - Avinguda de la Catedral
  • 6.30 pm - Little Devils’ Fire-Run  - Carrer de Joan Massana (start)
  • Sea Shanties (Havaneres) 7, 8.30 and 10 pm Plaça Reial
  • La Mercè Fire-Run (Correfoc) 8.30 pm Plaça Antoni Maura (start)

Projection Show - 8.45, 9.15, 9.45, 10.15 and 10.45 pm - Plaça Sant Jaume

Monday 23rd September

A quiet day today after all the weekend fun!

  • 9 pm - Procession of Giants (Xambanga de gegants) - Museu Marítim (start)

Projection Show - 8.45, 9.15, 9.45 and 10.30 pm - Plaça Sant Jaume

La Porca de Sant Antoni

Tuesday 24th September

Trabucaires are a group of blokes who walk around shooting blunderbusses into the air and the noise is extraordinary so I wouldn't take the dog if I were you.

As this is El Dia de la Mercè all the events in Plaça Sant Jaume are well worth it and the main Cavalcade is always brilliant.

Then I'll be having something to eat in order to get to the foot of Montjuïc to to see the Musical Firework show, which I'm sure will be as spectacular as ever.

  • 8 am - Pipers’ Morning Call (Matinada de grallers) - Plaça de la Mercè (start)
  • 10 am - Blunderbuss Gala (Galejada trabucaire) - Avinguda de la Catedral (start)
  • 10.20 am - Journey to Morning Mass Parade (Anada a ofici) - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 11 am - Show of Giant Dances - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 11.45 am - Human Tower Pillars and Authorities’ Procession (Seguici d’Autoritats) - Plaça Mercè
  • 12 pm - Parade of Giants and Big-Heads (gegants and capgrossos) - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 12.15 pm - Dances of the Eagle and the Giants of the City - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 12.30 pm - Human Towers Day - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 6 pm - La Mercè 2013 Cavalcade: Around the World and Back to El Born - Avinguda Marquès de l’Argentera (starting point)
  • 6 pm - Choir Concert - Plaça del Rei
  • 7 pm - Sardana Dancing - Plaça Mercè
  • 9 pm - Carillon Concert: Swingant - Plaça Sant Jaume
  • 9 pm - Closing Ceremony (Toc a plegar) - Plaça del Rei (start)
  • 10 pm - Pyromusical Fireworks and Music - Avinguda Maria Cristina

Projection Show - 8.45, 10, 10.30 and 11 pm - Plaça Sant Jaume

Music and Fireworks at La Mercè

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