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Following the Catalan tradition of stands devoted to the Christmas holidays, the fair of the Sagrada Família offers many types of complements, from figures and accessories for the traditional nativity scenes to Christmas trees and various decorations. The handicrafts from different countries and by different artists also stand out. The festive atmosphere around this characteristic area of Barcelona is complemented with stands of craft foods such as torrons, cheeses, cold meats, sweets and chestnuts. This year la Fira will take place with all the health and social-distancing measures in place to guarantee the maximum safety at all its venues.
Every March, the children of Barcelona enjoy one of the "sweetest" festivals of the city. The streets and squares of the charming district of Gràcia become a festival of sweets, bands and horse carriages. This is the Sant Medir Festival and according to tradition originates from the Saint who lived in the year 303 in Barcelona under the Roman rule of Diocletian, who intensely persecuted Christians. According to legend, Sant Medir's beans grew immediately after they were planted and for this he was taken prisoner. A hermitage was built where the Saint lived to mark the starting point of the pilgrimage. In 1830, a baker from the district of Gràcia made a pilgrimage to the hermitage on his Saint's Day to thank the Saint for a honoured promise. Today, this pilgrimage has become a popular tradition with the participation of "colles" from the districts of Gràcia, Sarrià and Sants. Each year, on 3rd March, the pilgrims parade all day through the streets of Gràcia and in the afternoon a spectacular parade is held on the Gran de Gràcia street, handing out sweets to all participants.
One of Catalonia's most famous traditions is that of the "castells" (castles), which are human towers that are lifted by building different levels of people until reaching insane heights that can go up to ten stories. There is no mechanical help, and tens and even hundreds of people can take part in it. The "castellers" are the people who carry out this activity, which is over 200 years old.
Acknowledged as Immaterial Cultural Heritage by Unesco, his origin is believed to be around the area of Tarragona, Catalonia's second most important province after Barcelona. During the 20th Century this practice spread all over Catalonia. The "castellers" are grouped in "colles" that normally take the name of its place of origin.
The Santa Eulàlia Festival, the winter festival of Barcelona, is for all the family. During these magical days, tribute is paid to the brave Laia, the girl who rebelled to defend her aims. For the city of Barcelona, this girl was a symbol of solidarity, in defence of justice and commitment to young people. Santa Eulàlia and la Mare de Déu de la Mercè are co-patron saints of Barcelona. To celebrate this festival, different activities are organized for all the family. You can’t miss the giants, the processions or the firework street run, human towers, sardanas dancing and musical bands throughout different routes of the city, apart from other activities for both young and old.
On 12th February, the Santa Eulàlia feast day, several events are held, such as raising the Penó de Santa Eulàlia (reproduction of an old banner of the city) on the balcony of City Hall, sardanas dancing, giants...
During the weekend of 10th, 11th and 12th February, there is an extensive programme for both young and old to commemorate this festival.
A large area, totally free of traffic, with different places to explore, most of them in the open air. That's the Poble Espanyol de Barcelona, an iconic visitor attraction in the heart of Montjuïc. Every weekend, there's a different activity: theatre, dance, music, magic, treasure hunts, etc. Throughout the year there are loads of activities to ensure you have a great day out with the family: Carnival, a Giants' Parade, a Puppet Festival, the Click and Go Fair, the Main Festival, the Medieval Fair, Christmas at the Poble, Halloween... and many more surprises!. In short, a wide range of activities for all the family.
On Christmas Day, for more than 100 years, takes place this event organized by the Club Natació Barcelona. The competition, the oldest in the entire Spanish territory, is a 200 meters open water swimming race across the Port of Barcelona.
Of all the memorable Catalan traditions, which include 'fire runs' and dancing 'giants', it's arguably the human towers that have the most impact on those watching them. To enjoy a true festival of these castells, head to Vilafranca de Penedès for its annual festa major, from the 29th August to the 2nd September, which commemorates the town's patron Sant Fèlix.
The casteller groups that have more participated in the San Félix Day, August 30, have been els Xiquets de Valls (currently, the Colla Vella and the Colla Joves), the Castellers de Vilafranca and the Minyons de Terrassa. Even so, also has participated els Nens del Vendrell, Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, els Xicots de Vilafranca, among others. Each human tower is an exemplary example of team work, from the crowd forming the supporting pinya at the bottom via the columns formed as each level rises and culminating with the youngest members of the crew scampering right to the very top to crown the construction, which is officially completed once the smallest of all (l'enxaneta) raises his or her hand. Cue thunderous applause.
Date not yet confirmedThe grape harvest festival is the period during which the tradition of wine producing is celebrated. During the weeks of the harvest, you can find out all about the vineyards, wineries and their wines throughout the various wine production regions of Catalonia. These celebrations give rise to a variety of activities: guided visits of the wineries, getting to know about and taking part in the wine-making process, wine and cava tastings combined with the sampling of delicious locally produced food and other activities. In addition to wine- and food-related activities, you can also enjoy complementary leisure pursuits suitable for any age group or profile. Below is just a selection of the recommended activities for you to enjoy this thousand year-old cultural experience to the full!
The Festa de la Fil·loxera in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia is a popular celebration that recreates the town's victory, in 1887, over the terrible phylloxera epidemic that wiped out all the vineyards in the Penedès region. The celebrations include fireworks, music and all the traditional festival figures you would expect.
There's also a kids' version of the festival consisting of a processionfrom Plaça de l'Església. It is one of the most eagerly awaited events. The children wear small-scale replicas of the figures seen at the main celebrations: the phylloxera beetle, the figures with large heads depicting the local farmers, the small phylloxera larvae, figures representing the vines and a group of larvae. Because the procession is for kids no fireworks are involved.
Carnival, a festivity based on the lunar calendar and eagerly anticipated by Catalans, always begins on a Thursday (Fat Thursday) and ends on the following Wednesday (Ash Wednesday). Carnival is synonymous with partying, bustling crowds, costumes, parades and so on. In short, it is a week given over to hedonism and having a good time being the forerunner to the period of fasting and deprivation represented by the Christian tradition of Lent.
These days, beyond the excesses, Carnival is a light-hearted popular festival based around the crazy figure named El Rei Carnestoltes (The Carnival King). While carnival is celebrated in almost every town and village throughout Catalonia, the places that historically stand out for their particular traditions are Barcelona, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú and Torelló. However, wherever you may be during the festivities, you will be able to try some of the delicious traditional Carnival dishes: the coca de llardons (flatbread with pancetta) or botifarra d'ou (pork sausage containing egg).
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