Thousands and thousands of people will take to the streets this September to celebrate one of the most eagerly awaited festivals of the year by the Catalans, La Mercè in Barcelona. More than 500 events will be held from the 22nd to the 25th of September to commemorate the capital’s main festival, packed with cultural activities, concerts and more traditional events to highlight the history of the city and its associative fabric. In this publication, we propose a series of activities not to be missed if you want to enjoy La Mercè Festival this year 2023.
If you want to visit Barcelona during these dates, Shuttle2Sun offers its shared transfer services and private transfer services, low-cost and sustainable, so you can move, in a comfortable and easy way, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport and Camp de Tarragona AVE train station.
History of the festivities
Barcelona has two patron saints’ days, which is why it has two main festivals: Santa Eulalia in February and La Mercè in September.
In the case of the latter, its origin goes back to the fact that, according to legend, on the night of the 24th of September, 1218, the Virgin of La Mercè appeared simultaneously to King Jaume I, Ramon Penyafort and the religious San Pedro Nolasco to ask them to found the order of the Mercedarians to rescue the Christians held captive in Muslim lands.
Centuries later, Barcelona resisted a plague of locusts in 1687, saved by the Virgin of La Mercè, to whom the city was entrusted. For both reasons, it was decided that La Mercè should be considered the patron saint of Barcelona.
From 1868 onwards, religious and popular festivals began to be held in honour of the Virgin around the 24th of September. And in 1902, for the first time, a secular festival was organised, with activities that highlighted the cultural diversity of the city. It was not until the arrival of democracy that Barcelona City Council decided to give the festival a more festive character.
Barcelona’s La Mercè festival features a wide range of concerts and performances of different musical styles, from international singers to up-and-coming artists on the current music scene.
The musical programme is divided into two major events: Música Mercè and Barcelona Acció Musical (BAM). Música Mercè includes a programme featuring women, in particular. Some of the most outstanding artists in this edition are Selma Bruna, Meritxell Nedermann, Lia Kali, Ile, Sabina Witt, Tarta Relena, Pongo, Carles Dénia, Albert Sanz, Perrate, among many others. The concerts will take place in different parts of the city, such as the Teatre Grec, the gardens of Doctor Pla i Armengol, the headquarters of the Nou Barris district, the Ciutadella and Catedral Avenue.
Bogatell beach will also be the venue for the Els 40 radio station concert, with renowned groups and artists such as Boye, Ginestà, Vicco, Sexenni, Suu, Dani Fernández and Els Catarres.
In addition, in Menéndez y Pelayo Street there will be a concert by radio stations Rac 105, Cadena 100 and Europa FM, bringing artists such as The Sants, Buhos, Abraham Mateo, Chanel, Edu Esteve, Triquell, Lildami, The Tyets, Doctor Prats, Julen, Mosaic and Portobello.
In Sant Jaume Square you can enjoy ‘havaneres’, performed by Modo Libre, a Cuban group, and Els Pescadors de l’Escala, from Costa Brava.
Also not to be missed is the BAM Festival, which offers a series of performances in different venues in Barcelona, such as Moll de la Fusta, Rambla del Raval, Reial Square and the Antigua Fábrica Estrella Damm. Some of the emerging artists coming to La Mercè stages are Abundance, Adelaida, Aiko El Grupo, Claraguilar, Mercury, Shego and The Notwist, among many others. In addition, this year, Kjiv (Ukraine) is the guest city of the festival, and will bring two musical proposals, Poly Chain and Alyona Alyona.
Remember that with Shuttle2Sun‘s shared transfer services and private transfer services you can travel to Barcelona, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport and Camp de Tarragona AVE train station.
During La Mercè festival, you can enjoy the abundant cultural heritage of the city of Barcelona, thanks to the numerous activities that take place during these days, such as, for example, the sardana dances, a traditional Catalan dance to the rhythm of the ‘cobla’; and the parades of giants, such as the ‘Xambanga’, where you can see these large figures dancing, carried on the shoulders of the ‘geganters’. One of the most outstanding parades is the parade on the big day of the festival, the 24th of September, with the participation of almost all the giants, accompanied by the beasts, other festive elements and music and entertainment groups.
It is worth mentioning the great correfoc, on the 23rd of September, a fire show, in movement, through the streets, with the participation of the devils and other fire elements, such as dragons. The story goes that the correfoc was born in 1978, during La Mercè festival in Barcelona, when they decided to create a fire show based on the classic devils’ dance, giving it movement and involving the audience. That same afternoon, there will also be a correfoc for the youngest members of the family.
There will also be ‘castells’ exhibitions, which consist of raising human towers several storeys high. This is a tradition that is very common in Catalan towns and villages. As well as the different choral performances.
Thanks to Shuttle2Sun‘s shared transfer services and private transfer services, low-cost and sustainable, you can go to Barcelona to celebrate La Mercè festival, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport and Camp de Tarragona AVE train station.