The Day of La Mercè, Barcelona’s patron saint will be celebrated on next Saturday. The city adorns itself with its greatest festival for three and a half days (this edition has been the shortest in its history but will cover more urban spaces than ever). This year it will witness some ninety concerts, over forty performing arts’ companies and hundreds of activities to be enjoyed alone, with friends or with the entire family.
Facts about La Mercè
- Did you know that it was Pope Pius IX who declared the Virgin of Mercy the patron saint of the city in 1868? The popular festival went through ups and downs because of the civil war and the Franco regime, though it became stronger with the advent of democracy. This festival would not have been possible today had it not been for the collaboration of all the city’s organizations.
- Activities of all kinds, for all tastes and ages take place in less than four days: traditional dances, street art, huge pasacalles and carnival figures with oversized heads, concerts, correfocs, audiovisual screening, etc. However, it has been decided to give more importance to the urban artistic disciplines in this edition. More of these activities have a point in common: they are a compendium of the popular culture of the whole of Catalonia.
Fewer days but more areas on Barcelona’s patron saint’s day
- One of the historical demands by traders, district associations and citizens has been to decentralize the La Mercè acts, and the goal has been achieved this year: the areas will be increased at the expense of the festive time. The Parc de la Trinitat and the ancient Fabra i Coats will be added to la Ciutat Vella, Montjuïc, la Ciutadella and the Parc del Fòrum, besides involving other more peripheral neighborhoods on this extremely important day for Barcelona. Other activities like skateboarding, skating, etc. that require the pavement for their exhibition can also be performed.
- Javier Pérez Andújar will officiate the opening speech of La Mercè 2016. Not new to controversy, he was the target of criticism from a part of the Catalan independence movement brigade because of a report he published on the National Day of Catalonia in 2015. The controversy has led him to go for an alternative opening speech, starring the mimic Toni Albà, who will act as Philip V of Spain.
- Paris will be the invited city for this edition of La Mercè. The French capital and its artists (like Olivier Grossetête and his Ephemeral Cities) will be the special guests.
- The traditional Festa al Cel will not be held in this edition. It was being celebrated on the coast of Barcelona up until 2013 and its last two editions were held in el Maresme. This aerial event, which adorned the sky during La Mercè, will not be held this year.
- Some areas will hold open days. Some of them are: la Sagrada Familia, the Montjuïc Castle, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Palau Güell, the CosmoCaixa, the Museu Marítim and the Museu Picasso.
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