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Festa Major de Gracia
The Festa Major de Gracia is the biggest of Barcelona's neighbourhood festivals with around half a million people taking part. It takes place every year from 15th to 21st August and features a huge programme of over 600 events. 2010 marks the 194th edition. It is organised for and by neighbours and families in Gracia, but visitors are very welcome.
The Festa Major de Gracia is basically a street festival with around 17 decorated streets and plazas and many wonderful Catalan traditions woven into a full programme of concerts and activities that fill the streets of Gracia every night during the festival. The 15th August is a public holiday, Assumption Day.
The 17 streets and squares in Gracia are decorated by residents who transform their street into charming themed carnival style decorations to compete for the prize of being the best decorated street or square of the Gracia festival. Carrer de Verdi won in 2010 and 2009, so don't miss that street. You can download the map of Gracia Festival here.
The neighbours on the competing streets put much of their free time into preparing these street decorations and the results are amazing. All the decorated streets are worth visiting, but it can take a while, so be sure to visit the streets that often take top prizes like Carrer de Joan Blanques and Carrer de Verdi.
Visit the Plazas of Gracia. On many plazas in the festival area you will find concert stages and plenty of food, drink and handicraft items. Some of the main festival squares have individual themes. Among them Plaça del Sol which will be the center of folk music and concerts every night - Plaça del Diamant is the place for jazz, swing, gospel and lindy-hop dancing - Plaça de la Revolució has the written word as a theme and the Plaza de Torrente Manuel hosts this years "Taste Gràcia" area, where there will be activities like champagne and wine tasting and other gourmet activities.
Catalan Festa Major traditions.
The Festa Major de Gràcia like all Catalan festival features a rich presence of all the traditional cultural Catalan traditions including the "Diada Castellera de Festa Major."
This features "colles castelleres" which are groups that build up to 7 storey high human castles or pyramids, which is an amazing thing to see live! During the festa major there are several opportunties to see the local castellers group, Castellers de la Vila de Gracia build these amazing towers. On one evening they will build a tower and walk it between two plazas.. a must see! That is called the "Baixada del Pilar Caminat." See the times for castellers above or in the calendar.
The "Correfoc" and "Tabalada Infernal" are also among the most popular and festive tradtions of all Festa Majors in Catalunya. Correfoc means "firerun" in Catalan and consists of "colles de diables" - which means "groups of devils" chasing and dancing to the beating of drums of the and spraying out sparks from fireworks attached to forks. The drummers of the Correfoc have their own parade called the "Tabalada Infernal."
There will be also be traditional Catalan "Sardanas" folk dancing and other traditions like "bastoners" stick dancing, "trabucaires" shooting "bandits" and "grallers" pipers. Have fun, but keep the peace and respect the neighbours
In recent years the Festa de Gracia has scheduled more daytime events and fewer night-time activities to respect the neighbours and reduce the potential of disturbances in the early hours of the morning. And we ask that all visitors to the Festa de Gracia do their bit to keep noise levels down and keep the area as clean as possible. Be careful when walking through the decorated streets. A lot of time and effort has gone into making them and many others will want to see them after you.
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