September 24th is the Saints Day of La Mare de Déu de la Mercè, who is best known as the patron saint of Barcelona and the reason for city's Festa Major
La Mare de Déu de la Mercè is figure of the Virgin Mary and is associated with the the Order of the Mercè, which was founded in Barcelona in 1218.
The current sculpture can be viewed in the Basilica de la Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Barcelona and is a 14th century Gothic figure, attributed to Pere Moragues.
The baby Jesus she has on her lap probably dates from two centuries later.
Since 1637, La Mercè is co-patron saint of the city of Barcelona along with Santa Eulalia, after the city was saved from a plague of locusts and during the Universal Exhibition of 1888, La Mercè officially became patron saint of the diocese of Barcelona.
September 24th is the Saints Day of La Mare de Déu de la Mercè, which as it is summer, is an excuse for Festa Majors around Catalonia and the Catalan-speaking countries.
At midday of September 24th, El Dia de la Mercè, a procession leaves the Basilica de la Mercè in Barcelona's Barri Gòtic.
Thanks to my friend Francesc Columbrí for the photo.
L'Himne a la Verge de la Mercé was composed in 1888 in honour of her nomination as patron saint of Barcelona with music by Josep Rodoreda and words by the great Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer.
On the left, you can see the lyric in Catalan with my translation in English on the right.
Visca la Mercè!
Estel de Barcelona,
Reina de la Mercè,
al poble que us corona
donau-li amor i fe.
De terra i mar Estrella guiadora,
brillau tot temps de Barcelona al front;
dels catalans siau la salvadora,
Vós que heu donat lo Salvador al món.
Long live la Mercè!
Long live Barcelona!
Star of Barcelona
Queen of la Mercè,
To the people that crown you
Give them love and faith.
Guiding star of land and sea,
Shine as long as you face Barcelona,
You are the Saviour of the Catalans,
You who gave birth to the Saviour of the world.
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