If you have thought to visit Barcelona during the second fortnight of August, do not forget to point in your calendar the Festes de Gràcia, in the city, in which, during a week, your streets are embellish to celebrate a more popular and cultural parties of Barcelona.
The parties start from the festivity of the Virgin August, the day 15th of August, and are extended until 21st of August, on the occasion of the festival of the Assumption. The main objective of this festival is to highlight the identity of the neighbourhood through an extensive programme of popular and traditional culture. Each neighboring association, under the foundation, organizes different activities in the streets and squares, making up a very diverse programme, along Gràcia neighborhood.
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The origins of the Festes de Gràcia date back to the time when the Villa de Gràcia began to be urbanised. It was a peasant core, which, during the nineteenth century, experienced a major transformation, becoming an area, especially, of workers and traders; and incorporated into the city, in 1897, with the reason for the growth of Barcelona.
This festival, which was held for the first time in 1817, the year in which an event was organised in the Masía de Can Trilla as a tribute to the Virgin of August, became consolidated from the mid-19th century onwards, increasing citizen and cultural participation over and above the initial religious nature of the festival.
In 1997, the Festa Major de Gràcia was awarded the distinction of Traditional Festival of National Interest by Generalitat de Catalunya.
Identity in the streets
Nowadays, the streets of the district of Gràcia are decorated every 15th of August, on the occasion of the feast of the Virgin of August, with authentic filigrees that create a unique and magical image, transforming the main streets into an original spectacle of decoration, craftsmanship and the creativity of the residents. These decorations have multiple meanings and references, for example to literature, agriculture, living beings, festivities and current issues such as climate change. Each year, a competition is held to choose the winning ornament, which has become a tradition.
These decorations date back to the custom of decorating the streets and squares of the city with branches, trees and flowers during the most important festivities, simulating the dance halls of the time. Initially, the motifs were of a religious nature, until, at the end of the 19th century, they took on a more festive and artistic image, thanks to the legalisation of neighbourhood associations, transforming this tradition into a vindication of the neighbourhood’s identity and one of the most distinctive elements of this magnificent festival.
That’s why, if you visit Barcelona at this time of year, you can’t miss the chance to stroll through the streets of Gràcia to discover the new designs for 2023. At Shuttle2Sun we offer a transfer to the city of Barcelona, with total comfort and without worries, thanks to our shared transfer services and private transfer services, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport, and even from the AVE Camp de Tarragona train station.
This year, the opening speech will be given by the captains of the men’s and women’s teams of Club Esportiu Europa, Alex Cano and Andrea Porta, respectively, with the aim of highlighting the promotion of both teams to the second division, a historic milestone in the club’s history. It will be held on the eve of the festival, on 14th of August, at 7 p.m., from the balcony of the District of Gràcia.
Although the main attraction of this festival is the competition to decorate the streets and squares, you can enjoy almost a thousand activities for all audiences, tastes and ages.
If you are a lover of popular culture, we suggest go to the parade on 15th of August, the diades castelleres on 18th and 19th of August, and the correfoc on 21st of August, as well as enjoying the festive dances, traditional Catalan music, children’s games for the youngest members of the family, the performing arts and the gastronomic area, among many other events. Likewise, the stages for the concerts of the best-known groups can be found in Plaça de la Vila or Plaça del Sol. On the other hand, if you prefer more vindicative and different music, you can go to the Plaça del Raspall, where the alternative Festa Major will take place.
During these days, you can also take part in guided tours of the air-raid shelter in Plaça Revolució, one of the most iconic of the Villa de Gràcia, which was partially destroyed in 1994. During the year 2023, rehabilitation and musealisation works have been carried out, so that it can be visited during the festivities.
Among the novelties of this 2023 edition, we can highlight the debut of a new festive figure: the Bou de Gràcia, which will become part of the popular culture entourage, and of the Gracia festive bestiary, which already has the Lion, since 2022, and the Eagle, since 2018. If you want to get to know this new element, you will be able to see it in all the events of the Gracia Festive Protocol, with the exception of the correfoc.
In addition, a multi-faith event will be held, i.e., a complementary space to the traditional Catholic mass, dedicated to catering for religious diversity, on 20th of August, in Plaça de Joanic.
Visit the district of Gràcia, to enjoy the great programme of its main festival, moving to Barcelona, from Barcelona airport, the port of Barcelona, Reus airport, Girona airport, and even from the AVE Camp de Tarragona train station, thanks to the shared transfer services and private transfer services that we offer at Shuttle2Sun.