Catalonia has maintained its traditions and customs during the years and they are still very present today. Barcelona has a popular tradition since many years, which translates in a wide variety of ludic activities and festivals. These traditions are not considered as something from the past, but they are really celebrated as a manifestation of their emotions and identity. If you want to discover the essence of Barcelona, take part in these parties.
The “Castellers” are very representative for Catalonia. They are impressive human towers, where every "casteller" climbs up the shoulders of another, to make towers of up to 10 floors. Besides having fun, the objective is to make the highest tower possible. There are three types of towers: "el Pilar" when each floor of the tower is formed by one single "casteller", "la Torre" when the floors are made by two "castellers" and "el Castell", when every floor is formed by more than two "castellers". These human towers are always guided by a melody from a typical Catalan flute. There are already more than 40 groups of "castellers" in Catalonia.
La sardana is much more than a traditional dance and song of Catalonia, it is a symbol of the Catalan identity. It is danced collectively by forming a circle where everyone takes each others hands. All sardanas have a different lenght and therefore a different number of steps. This makes it a little bit difficult to dance the Sardana correctly. You can enjoy this spectacle every Sunday at midday in front of the Cathedral.
Christmas – Santa Llúcia
On December 13th, day of Santa Llúcia, large lines are formed before the chapel of this patron of the blinds and the tailors. On the same day, the fair with the same name is started around the Cathedral. You can find many stands selling Christmas figures and trees, as well as a wide variety of presents. With this fair, the festivities for Christmas kick off. The most important days in this period are December 25th (Christmas), December 26th (day of Sant Esteban) and January 6th (day of the Magic Kings).
Cabalgata de Reyes
The night before the day of the Kings from the East, children and adults fill the streets of Barcelona to assist to the tradition 'cabalgata'. The kings arrive by boat at the port and pass through the streets of Barcelona, from the port until Montjuic. They throw sweets to the kids and collect their letters with their wishes. Don't miss this emotional party.
Carnival is not as celebrated in other European cities. In Barcelona, on Sunday, decorated cars and dressed up funny persons pass through Las Ramblas. However, the carnivals in cities close to Barcelona are better known and famous for their originality. If you like carnival and have the chance, assist to the carnival of Sitges or "Vilanova i la Geltrú".
The day of “Sant Jordi”
Sant Jordi is the patron of Catalonia. Therefore, April 23th is a very important day for all Catalans. The habit is to offer books and roses, and you will find little shops selling books and roses everywhere in Barcelona.
The night of “Sant Joan”
The shortest night of the year, June 23th, is celebrated in Barcelona with bonfires, firecrackers and fireworks. Everyone gets out on the streets to have fun and to dance until the sun comes up. It is typical to eat the 'coca de Sant Joan' and to drink cava.
The party of “La Mercè”
“La Mercè”, celebrated on September 24th, is the patron of Barcelona, and it is one of the most representative parties of the city. The festivities take place during the whole week and offer activities for everyone. Concerts, expositions, recitals, Sardana dances. The most traditional activity is the dance of the giants and the "capgrossos", the "correfor" and the human castles at Plaça Sant Jaume. Finally, don't miss the ending of the parties with the piromusical in the Avenida Maria Cristina.