Les Festes de la Mercè, Barcelona
Centuries later in 1687, Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts, and placed itself in the hands of the Virgin of La Mercè. Once the plague had been overcome, the Council of the City named her patron saint of Barcelona. The Pope did not ratify this decision until two centuries later, however, in 1868.
After Pope Pius IX declared the Virgin of La Mercè the patron saint of the city, Barcelona began to celebrate a festival in the month of September. Today it is a festival held in a large number of public places with a programme centered on Mediterranean culture. In less than a week Barcelona brings together a huge programme of events, which forces you to choose between them: street arts, street processions, concerts, traditional dances.
The most traditional activities of the Mercè Festival are, in fact, a compendium of popular culture from all over Catalonia. There is the Gironese Sardana, the human castles and devils from the Camp of Tarragona, dances that still survive today all over the Catalan lands. But the great Barcelona speciality is its street parades, originating from the spectacular processions, which took place centuries ago for the celebration of Corpus Christi.