Festival date: Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th February 2016
Festival location: Various venues Barcelona
Santa Eulalia festival Barcelona 2016 dates are Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th February 2016. Many of the main events are on Sunday 14th February including human castle building. "Les Festes de Santa Eulàlia" is Barcelona’s biggest annual festival for children. The festival of Santa Eulàlia is also known as "La Laia" festival. Laia is a nickname for Eulalia. The main Santa Eulalia festival events take place every year on the days around 12th February, which is Santa Eulàlia's day. On Santa Eulalia's day at 9.45 am an important tradition is the raising of the flag "Penó de Santa Eulàlia," ( reproduction of ancient Barcelona penant flag) on the balcony of City Hall on Plaça de Sant Jaume and followed by the opening speech called the "pregó de Santa Eulàlia."
The Santa Eulàlia festival programme features more than activities concerts, processions, open house events and other activities of all kinds, mostly for children. The festival takes place at many venues all over Barcelona but it is mostly in the Ciutat Vella old city of Barcelona. The programme for the Santa Eulalia festiival includes many typical Catalan traditions like parades withgegants and other fantasy figures. You can seecastellers human tower building, Catalan folk dancing sardanas, correfoc fire-runs and many other activities including story-telling, puppets, family workshops, talks, concerts and more. Many museums have an open house day during Santa Eulalia and some are free to visit during the entire festival period. Museums are also taking part by holding open days. Once again in 2016 you can enjoy the the festival of light LlumBCN - Barcelona Light Festival during the Santa Eulalia festival days. The light festival, Llum BCN transforms various spots around the old medieval Ciutat Vella district with 24 light installations and visitor routes through 14 medieval palace courtyards,
Some highlights Festival Santa Eulàlia
Open full programme 2016 Santa Eulalia festival
Ballada i cercavila de gegantons
Date: Saturday 13th February from 16:00
Location: Plaça Comercial, Born area
Baixada de Santa Eulàlia
Descent of Santa Eulalia procession
Date: Sunday 14th February from 11:30 (not confirmed yet)
Location: Starts at Baixada de Sta Eulàlia
Day of human tower building by castellers groups
Date: Sunday 14th February from 13:00
Location: Plaça de Sant Jaume
Correfoc de Santa Eulalia
Date: Saturday 14th February at 20:00
Starts at: Plaça Nova at "Avinguda de la Catedral" Barcelona Cathedral
Route: Plaça Nova then streets Bisbe, Pietat, Comtes de Barcelona, pla de la Seu and finish on Avinguda de la Catedral.
Music plays an very important part in the festival and throughout the festivities, music schools, choirs and children's orchestras perform around the city of Barcelona. "La Laia" also usually includes a children's photography competition called the "Foto Laia" and the “Premis Ciutat de Barcelona” awards for shopkeepers at the end of the festival. Each year there is a new poster for the Santa Eulàlia festival. In 2008 the poster featured two historic buildings in Barcelona: the Santa Maria del Mar church and the Barcelona Cathedral which are part of the legend of Santa Eulalia.
Santa Eulàlia is patron of the cathedral and co-patron saint of the city of Barcelona. She is also patron saint of sailors and invoked against miscarriages, against drought, rain, mariners and safe sailing. The story of the child virgin saint Saint Eulàlia (ca. 290-303) is a gruesome tale. Legend has it that she was a thirteen-year-old Christian girl, who lived in a farmhouse - called "un mas" in Catalan - in what is now the district of Sarria, which in those times was in the countryside outside the walled city of Barcelona. Eulalia became a martyr in Barcelona during the persecution of Christians in the reign of Roman emperor Diocletian for protesting to the Roman governor Dacianus against the persecution of Christians, which led to her being cruelly tortured for refusing to recant her Christian faith.
The Romans subjected her to not just one ordeal, but thirteen different and gruesome tortures the most infamous of which was putting her naked into a barrel with filled with glass and embedded knives and rolling it down sloping streets. This streets are in Barcelona's gothic area and called Carrer de Sant Sever and then Baixada de Santa Eulalia which means "Saint Eulalia's descent." Other cruel tortures that Eulalia was subjected to including cutting off her breasts, crucifying her on an X-shaped cross and other barbaric deeds until her decapitation. Legend has it that a dove flew out from her neck after she lost her head. Eulàlia is commemorated with many statues and street names throughout Barcelona and she represents justice, solidarity and youth. She is a co-patron saint of Barcelona along with "la Mare de Déu de la Mercè."
She died on 12th February in the year 303 and 12th Febuary is now celebrated every year as Saint Eulàlia’s day. Eulalia's body was first interred in a church originally called "Santa Maria de les Arenes" - St. Mary of the Sands. which was located on the present site of basilica Santa Maria del Mar - St. Mary of the Sea church in the Ribera/Born area of Barcelona. Her remains were hidden in 713 during the Moorish invasion, and only recovered again in 874. On 23rd November, 874 her remains were moved to Barcelona cathedral by Bishop Frodoinus. In 1339 they were moved again to the Barcelona Cathedral crypt called Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, where they remain to this day. The crypt for her remains was designed by maestro de obras Jaime Fabre and Lupo di Francesco created the alabaster sarcophagus. Legend has it that during the procession to move the bones of Santa Eulalia to their final resting place, an angel came down when the procession reached the Plaça de l'Àngel and confronted one of the clergymen, who confessed to having stolen a toe from the bones of Santa Eulalia.
In the area where Eulalia was from outside Barcelona, there were many geese on the fields. This is why you can see a gaggle of thirteen white geese, one goose for each year of Eulalia's short life, in the cloister of Barcelona cathedral in the "Geese well" - "Fuente de las Ocas." Visit the official website below (in Catalan and Spanish) for more information about events or visit your local library, civic centre and market, where there you can find information about activities during the festival in your area of Barcelona.
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