La Mercè Festival 2013 Barcelona Les Festes de la Mercè - Fiestas de la Mercè 2013
Mercè Festival 2013 Barcelona. Find out what to do and what to see at Barcelona's biggest festival. The Merce 2012 public holiday is on 24th September 2013 and the annual Merce festival is in September 2013 and usually 4 days. The 2013 programme has not been announced yet: The Merce 2012 public holiday is on Monday 24th September.
This page will be updated with 2013 Merce Festival information soon.
La Merce is "La festa major de Barcelona" and the biggest city festival of the year in Barcelona. Scroll down this page to find top things to do at Barcelona Merce Festival including concerts, fireruns, fireworks, human towers and much more. The star of the Merce 2012 was the Sagrada Familia light show by guest city Montreal, which is a must-see. La Merce always has hundreds of wonderful events in the Merce festival, so be sure to check links below for highlights and the download the full Merce festival programme.
Name of Merce Festival Barcelona's biggest annual festival is the Merce Festival - “Les Festes de la Mercè." This is the celebration of the Patron Saint of Barcelona, the Virgin Mary, who is called “María de las Mercedes”, meaning "Mary of Mercies." She is also called ”La Mare de Deu de la Mercè," meaning “Mother of God of Mercy” or “Virgin de La Mercè” – Virgin of Mercy or "Nuestra Señora de la Merced" (Spanish) which means Our Lady of Mercy - or La Mercè for short. The words "Mercè" in Catalan and "Merced" in Spanish, mean "mercy” in English.
Merce legend in Barcelona According to legend, on the night of 2nd August 1218, the Virgin Mary appeared to the Catalan knight Pere Nolasc,who later became a Saint Pere Nolasc, telling him to form a sacred order of monks in her name. He did just that and formed the Order of Merced, dedicated to ransoming ordinary and poor Christians imprisoned by the Saracen pirates during the wars of the crusades, who could not afford their ransoms. Pere Nolasc had actually already been doing this for 15 years since 1202, but always praying for help and divine intervention, which then came in the form of a Marian experience in 1218. The Order of Mercy was established on August 10, 1218 with the help of Nolasc's confessor at Barcelona cathedral, Saint Ramón de Penyafort, and with support from the Count of Barcelona and King of Aragon King Jaume I. All the details of the foundation of the Order of Mercy are kept to this day in the Archives of the Aragon Crown in Barcelona. Centuries later in 1687 the Virgin of La Mercè helped Barcelona by making a plague of locusts disappear. After the locust plaque the Council of the City chose La Merce as patron saint of Barcelona and she was canonised as a patron saint in 1868 by the Pope Pius IX. Since 1687 the city has celebrated La Mercè festival every year in Barcelona and the locust plague has never returned. La Mercè was also briefly appointed commander of the army during the war of succession in 1714, when the Barcelona was under siege by the French. The Virgin was better at fighting locusts then repelling French soldiers because Barcelona lost the war and was captured by the French on September 11th 1714, which is now commemorated as the Catalunya national day.
La Mercè church - Basilica La Mercè There is a sculpture of La Merce on top of the church called "Basilica La Mercè" on the square Plaça de la Mercè in the Gothic area of Barcelona near Barcelona's Port Vell harbour and quite close Las Ramblas. This is the only church in Barcelona with a baroque façade. The first church on this location was built in 1267 and it has later been reformed several times. Between 1765 y 1775 the architect Josep Mas renovated what can now be seen as the present day church Basilica La Mercè The building at the opposite end of the plaza was formerly a convent called "Convent of the Mercè," and is an army building today. You can also see a fountain on the Merce plaza of Neptune, the Greek god of the sea in Roman mythology. Look up and you will see the sculpture of the Virgin on the roof of the Basilica La Mercè. Inside the church you can see a gothic wooden statue of “Virgin and Child” which is attributed to the artist Pere Moragues in 1361.
Highlights of Les Festes de la Mercè Les Festes de la Mercè 2012 will have hundreds of big and small events that focus on popular Catalan and Mediterranean culture. You can see the most popular events below. The festival presents a music festival, Catalan traditions, parades, concerts, firework displays, air shows, a 10km run and many more events in Barcelona at many locations from Friday 21st September to Monday 24 September 2012, which is the main festival period. Some events like the 10k run and the airshow take place before and after the main festival. The 24th September is always a public holiday in Barcelona in honour of the city's patron saint La Merce and in 2012 this day falls on a Monday. The metro, FGC and trams will be open all night for 91 hours during the Merce festival from Friday night until and Monday 24th at midnight. Many of the Merce activities also have special buses. Bicing city bikes (residents only) will also be open 24 hours a day during the festival. The poster for the 2012 Merce festival is by Catalan sculptor and artist Jaume Plensa
Mercè opening speech - Pregó de festa major "Pregó de festa major." The Festes de la Mercè are traditionally opened with a speech by the “pregoner” or "the town crier" to signal the start of the Mercè festivities. This speech is called the "Pregó" and is usually by a prominent Catalan citizen or artist. In 2012 La Merce will be officially opened by Lluís Torner who is director of lCFO-Institut de Ciències Fotòniques. The opening speech is on Thursday 20/9 in the "Saló de Cent del Ayuntamiento" in the Barcelona town hall on Plaça de Sant Jaume in the Gothic quarter. The Prego ceremony itself is by invitation only, but it is broadcast live on big screens outside the city hall on Plaça Sant Jaume and it is also transmitted live on Catalan TV channel TV3
Mercè Concerts and music festivals
The Merce 2012 has many concerts and music events in the streets and parks of Barcelona. The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra - -L’Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (L’OBC) will play a free outdoor classical concert on Monday 24th September on Av. de la Cathedral in front of Barcelona Cathedral. On street Passeig dels Til·lers in the upper part of Barcelona you can find outdoor Karaoke at "el gran Karaoke de la Mercè" with a giant screen and stage. And as usual the Mercè Música festival and BAM music festival (Barcelona Acción Musica) has a full concert programme featuring top artists. BAM concert stages are in five locations in Barcelona.
PLAÇA REIAL - Plaza in gothic area of Barcelona > Map link PLAÇA DELS ÀNGELS by MACBA museum > Map link JOAN COROMINES - in Raval area in CCCB cultural centre > Map link PARC DEL FÒRUM - in Diagonal Mar area > Map link ANTIGA FÀBRICA D'ESTRELLA DAMM - Eixample area > Map link
One of the highlights of BAM is the street concert at the "Antiga fàbrica d'Estrella Damm" in Eixample on Saturday 22 September from 19:30 onwards featuring La Laia, Love of Lesbian and The Kooks. Other big concerts at Merce are Cadena Dial concert and the 40 principales/Hard Rock concertboth at Avenida Reina Cristina by Plaza Espanya on Friday 21st September. Visit the BAM website and Merce website to see full programme of concerts and artist line-up
Activity: Parade Toc d’Inici or "Sortida del Seguici Popular " Date: Thursday 21/9 2012 Time: 19.45 Where: > Plaça de Sant Jaume in the Gothic area of Barcelona Also called "Toc d’Inici" which means "starting touch." This is the first procession of La Merce featuring mythical figures of "Bestiari de Barcelona" and giants and bigheads "Gegants i Capgrossos" from medieval Barcelona. Takes place on Plaça de Sant Jaume, where the gegants and capgrossos perform their dances to the sounds of the traditional minstrels called "Ministrers del Camí Ral," who meet just once a year specially for this event..
Activity: Parade "Xambanga de Gegants "- Giants’ Xambanga Date: Saturday 22 September 2012 at 19:00 to 20:30 Time: 19:00 Where: > Raval. Parade start on Carrer de Montalegre.Finish at Plaça de Sant Jaume The parade "Xambanga de Gegants" is a procession of "dancing" giants from many districts and neighbourhoods of Barcelona. Both the groups and the giants dance to traditional drums and pipes and sometimes even to pop music. This event is especially fun because the giants and giants groups are in fancy dress. This parade starts in the Raval area of old Barcelona near MABCA museum on Placa dels Angels/Carrer de Montalegre. The Xambanga then goes along streets "Carrer dels Àngels," - "Pintor Fortuny" - "La Rambla" - "Carrer de Ferran" and ends at Plaça de Sant Jaume in Gothic area
Activity: Sardanes inaugurals amb la Cobla de Sant Jordi Date: Friday 21/9 2012 Time: 19.00 Where: > Av. de la Cathedral in front of Barcelona Cathedral Nearest Metro: Jaume I - L4 Sardanes is the traditional folk dancing of Catalunya. The "cobla" is the band that plays for the Sardanes dancers.
Activity: 61è Concurs de Colles Sardanistes – Sardanes dancing competition Date: Sunday 23/9 2012 Time: 11.00 Where: > Av. de la Cathedral in front of Barcelona Cathedral Nearest Metro: Jaume I - L4 Big Sardanes competition in front of Barcelona Cathedral.
Activity: Correfoc infantil - Children's Correfoc - Firerun Date: Sunday 23 September 2012 Time: 18:30 Where: Starts and ends on Via Laietana between Carrer de Joan Massana and Plaça d'Antoni Maura "Correfoc infantil dels petits diables" is the special Children's Correfoc firerun with fireworks and bangers that are less noisy and scary for the kids and with special focus on the children. The children's correfoc in on Via Laietana. There will be correfoc activities and workshops all day in front of the Santa Catarina market.
Activity: Correfoc - Fire run - Porta de l´Infern Date: Sunday 23 September 2012 Time: 20:30 Where: Starts at Plaça d'Antoni Maura on Via Laietana then down Via Laietana to Plaça d'Antonio López to end at Carrer del Consolat de Mar Nearest Metro: Jaume I - L4 The Correfoc is one of the most popular events of La Merce with up to 70.000 spectators. About forty groups of "colles de diables" - “groups of devils” from in and around Barcelona, as well as dragons and other "bestiari de foc" - fire beasts, take part in this festival of fire. The legend of Correfoc is that the Mascle Cabró (Catalan) or Macho Cabrón in Spanish - a male goat or ram in English - hears the arrival of the "diables" the devils, and commands his armies to cross the gate of hell called "Porta de l´Infern" which separates the real world from hell. At the end of the correfoc the devils are sent back into hell. The Merce correfoc starts with spectacular fireworks of the "Porta de l´Infern " - "Gates of Hell," which then open and release the "diables" to start the "correfoc" firerun. About 80.000 fireworks are used during the correfoc so you are advised to follow some basic correfoc safety precautions about practical clothes to wear to see a correfoc. Ear plugs are a good idea or just put some tissue paper in your ears because it's very noisy especially when the "Trabucaires" Catalan "bandits" shoot their blunderbuss guns There is also a children's correfoc the same day at 18:30 and you can find correfoc activities and workshops all day in front of the Santa Catarina food market in the Born neighbourhood. Calendar Merce events with Catalan tradtions About correfoc traditions in Catalonia
Merce Castellers - Human Towers
Activity:Castellers display - Human castles "Diada castellera amb les colles locals" Date & time: Monday 24 September 2012 at 12:30 Where: Plaça de Sant Jaume - Gothic quarter Nearest Metro: Jaume I - Yellow L4 "Diada castellera amb les colles locals." Castellers display by Barcelona groups of human tower builders on Plaça de Sant Jaume, Barcelona at 12.30. Features Castellers de Barcelona, Castellers de la Sagrada Família, Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia, Castellers de Sants and Castellers del Poble-Sec.
Activity:Falcons display by "Falcons de Barcelona" Date & time: Sunday 23/9 2012 at 10.30 Where: Starts atAv. de la Catedraland finishes atPlaça de Sant Jaume Nearest Metro: Jaume I - Yellow L4 Matí de Falcons. Falcon Tower building display by "Colla Falcons de Barcelona" and "Falcons del País del Cava." The groups will tour the gothic area from Plaça de Santa Jaume to Barcelona cathedral. This is another form of human tower building called the Falcon discipline named after a Czech tradition called "Sökol," which means falcon. Falcon structures were popular in Catalonia at the beginning of the 20th century, but then fell out of favour. In Barcelona a young group called the Barcelona Falcons has revived this tradtion of making falcon structures and they performed first at the Saint Eulalia festivities in 2003. Very festive to watch. This is another form of human tower building called the Falcon discipline named after a Czech tradition called "Sökol," which means falcon. Falcon structures were popular in Catalonia at the beginning of the 20th century but then fell out of favour. In Barcelona a young group called the Barcelona Falcons has revived this tradtion of making falcon structures and they peformed first at the Saint Eulalia festivities in 2003. Festive event.
Activity:Castellers display - human towers "Diada castellera de les colles convidades." Date & time: Sunday 23/9 2012 at 12:00 Where:Plaça de Sant Jaume - Gothic quarter Nearest Metro: Jaume I - Yellow line L4 "Diada castellera de les colles convidades." Castellers display on Plaça de Sant Jaume, Barcelona featuring top "colles" i.e. groups of castellers from around Catalunya including Castellers de Barcelona, Minyons de Terrassa and Castellers de Vilafranca. Very exciting to watch. Get there early as the Pl Jaume will be packed.
Activity: Barcelona Air show - Festa al Cel Date & time: Sunday 30 September 2012 from 12:00 to 16:00 Where: > Festa al Cel air show map - beaches of Barcelona "Barcelona Air Show" called "Festa al Cel." 2012. 22st edition of the Barcelona International Airshow, called "Festa al Cel" It takes place on Sunday 30 September 2012 after the main Merce festival has ended. From the beaches in Barcelona you can see helicopters, fighter planes, and commercial planes fly at close range over the beaches of Barcelona.
Activity: Street Arts Festival - El Parc de la Dansa i el Teatre de Carrer Date & time: Saturday 22 September to Monday 24 September 2012 Where: > Parc del Ciutadella (MAC) Arts de Carrer. Dance and street art festival in the Parc del Ciutadella. For the children there is an exciting area at Parc del Ciutadella called "Hybrid Playground" developed by Lalalab. The system transforms a traditional playground into a interactive video game by attaching networked sensors to the playground swings and other games.
Activity: Circus Festival at Montjuic Castle Date & time: Saturday 22 September to Monday 24 September 2012 Where:>Castell de Montjuicon Montjuic hill Merce circus festival at Castell de Montjuic during Merce Festival with many local and international artists including circus troup "Cirque Éloize" from Merce guest city Montreal. The focal point of the circus festival of Merce is a the large circus tent in the Santa Eulàlia castle moat.
There are many sports events during La Merce including the traditional open water harbour swim and the very popular 10k runCursa de la Merce on Sunday 16 September 2012.
Activity:Mercè 2012: Harbour swim - Travessia Nedant al Port de Barcelona Date:Sunday 23rd September 2012 Time:10.00 Registration: > Register online here Location:Swim starts at Plaça del Portal de la Pau near Columbus Monument. Nearest Metro:Drassanes green line L3 85th edition of Merce open water harbour swim called "La 85a Travessia Nedant al Port de Barcelona" will be on Sunday 23rd September 2012. As always it is organised by the "Club Natació Atlétic " which is located in Barceloneta. This swim across the port of Barcelona takes place every year during the Merce Festival and there are various routes and groups from 400 m to 3000 m. The event is at the "Golondrinas" harbour boats near the Columbus Monument at the bottom of La Rambla. Visit the website for details of registration.
Activity: Mercè 2012: Exhibició Pirotècnia (previously called Festival Pirotècnic) Dates: Saturday 22 September 2012 and Sunday 23 September 2012 Time: 22.00 Admission: Free Location: > Platja de la Barceloneta- by "Espigó del Gas" breakwater Nearest Metro: Ciutadella Vila Olimpica L4 - or Barceloneta L4 The usual Festival Pirotècnic Internacional is replaced by two nights of fireworks displays in 2012 from 22.00 in the evening on the beach of Barceloneta at the Platja de la Barceloneta by the "Espigó del Gas" which is the name of the first breakwater to the south of Port Olimpic.
Merce Piromusical at Magic Fountain
Activity: Mercè 2012: Piromusical Date: Monday 24th September 2012 Time: 22.00 Admission: Free Location: > Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina at Magic Fountain of Montjuic Nearest Metro: Espanya L1 The Piromusical is the grand finale of the main Merce Festival and takes place at front of the Magic Fountain at the foot of Montjuic hill near Plaza Espanya with the Palau Nacional in the background. The Piromusical is a fantastic music, water, fireworks and laser light display centred around the Magic Fountain at Montjuic hill with music and light themes change from year to year. Spectators fill the entire length of the Maria Cristina avenue from the twin Venetian towers, so we recommend that you get there around 21.00 to get a good place. There is no seating so you will have to stand on the street during the fireworks and music show. This is a charming event for all ages and a treasured tradition and highlight of the Merce festival. If you are in Barcelona or Catalunya, then you can also see this event live on Catalan TV channel TV3.
Mercè - light shows
Activity: Mercè 2012: "Barcelona, la casa de tots" - light show Date & time:Friday 21 September to Monday 24 September 2012. Town hall light show times: Friday 21/9 at 21:15, 21:45, 22:15 and 22:45 Saturday 22/9 at 20:45, 21:45 and 22:45 Sunday 22/9 at 20:45, 21:15, 21:45, 22:15 and 22:45 Monday 24/9 at 20:45, 22:00, 22:30 and 23:00 Location: > Plaça de Sant Jaume - Gothic quarter Nearest Metro:Jaume I - Yellow line L4 Espectacle de projeccions "Barcelona, la casa de tots." This is an Innovative and fun light show called "Barcelona, la casa de tots" which means "Barcelona, everyone's home." It can be seen every evening during the Merce festival projected onto the facade of Barcelona's town hall building on Plaça Jaume. Light show times vary according to other events at Pl Sant Jaume
Activity: Mercè 2012: Light show Montréal Signe "Ode à la Vie” Date & time: Friday 21 September to Sunday 23 September 2012 Sagrada Familia light show times: daily at 21:00, 22:00, 23:00 & 00:00 midnight Location: > Projected on Sagrada Familia church Light show Montréal Signe "Ode à la Vie” The cities of Barcelona and guest city Montréal have invited Canadian company Moment Factory to create a moving fresco on the basilica’s Nativity façade. Don't miss this uplifting story of rebirth, hope and beauty in a 15-minute multi-media light show projected onto Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. There are 4 show times a day from 21:00 to midnight.
Merce - El Parc de la Llum
Activity:Mercè 2012: El Parc de la Llum Date:Friday 21 September to Sunday 23 September 2012 Admission:Free. Open all night Location: > Parc de la Ciutadella Nearest Metro:Arc de Trionf - Red Line L2 Once again Barcelona's Parc de la Ciutadella becomes the "Parc de la Llum" for the Merce 2012. Go in from around 21:00 and enjoy wonderful lighting, dance shows, concerts, light and laser shows and the beautifully restored and floodlit cascade fountain. A highlight are the interactive sculptures of Jordi Rocosa.
Merce Wine & Cava Festival
Activity:Mercè 2012: Wine and Cava Festival 2012 Date:Friday 21st September 2012 to Sunday 23 September 2012 Time:From 12:00 a 20:00 (ticket sales for tasting closes at 21.15) Admission:Free. Tickets on sale for tasting. Location: >Moll de la Fusta - wharf at Port Vell marina in BCN harbour Nearest Metro:Drassanas Green line L3 - Barceloneta Yellow line L4 "32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya." Wine festival featuring wine and cava from the Catalan vineyards is from Friday 21 September 2012 to Sunday 23 September 2012 . The 32nd edition of this popular wine tasting festival in Barcelona, which is part of Merce Festival. The Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya is on "Moll de la Fusta" wharf in Port Vell marina. Moll de la Fusta means "wood wharf" in Catalan. On Sunday 23 September 2012 you can also visit the "Diada d'Intercanvi de Plaques de Cava" for collectors of Cava bottle top wrappers called "Chapa de Cava."
Merce Book Fair - Passeig de Gracia
Activity: Mercè 2012: Fira del Llibre d'Ocasio Antic i Modern Date: Friday 21 September to Sunday 7 October 2012 Time:Monday to Saturday 10.00 to 21.00 - Sunday 11.00 to 21.00 Admission: Free Location: On "Passeig de Gracia" from Plaza Catalunya up to street of Arago. Nearest Metro: Passeig de Gracia Annual outdoor book fair which also is part of Merce Festival. The "61ª Fira del Llibre d'Ocasio Antic i Modern" (Catalan) or "La 61 Feria del Libro de Ocasión Antiguo y Moderno" (Spanish) is a row of book stalls selling new and old Spanish and Catalan books and a few foreign books on the boulevard of "Passeig de Gràcia." The outdoor book market starts at "Plaza Catalunya" and ends at the crossing of "Carrer de Arago." Organised by El Gremi de Llibreters de Vell de Catalunya
Merce Asia Festival Barcelona
11th edition of the Festival Asia organized by Casa Asia. The Festival Asia is a permanent part of the Merce Festival of Barcelona. Barcelona showcases the cultural richness and diversity of Asia with a range of high quality productions from abroad and the presence of the Asian communities in Catalonia. Visit the Festival Asia website for programme and information..
Every year the Merce Festival in Barcelona announces a guest city. In 2012 Barcelona welcomes Canadian city Montreal and highlights its music, traditions and other cultural activities during La Merce in Barcelona. The highlight will be an amazing projection light and sound show at the Sagrada Familia temple in Barcelona at 21:00 every evening.
Merce Museums Open Day
Activity:Museums Open Day - Free entrance to many city museums Date & time:Saturday 22nd September 2012 Where: Many top museums in Barcelona Jornada de Portes Obertes. Many museums and Barcelona landmarks take part in the Merce festival by opening their doors to the public for free on Saturday 22 September 2012. This is called "Jornada de Portes Obertes" - day of open doors. Top museums with free admission on Saturday 22 September 2012 include the Miró museum, Catalunya history museum, Picasso museum, MNAC art museum and more. Find all free museums participating in open day at Merce 2012. Several theatres in Barcelona also offer half price tickets during the Merce festival. The Sagrada Familia will be open free for three days on 22, 23 and 24 of September from 16:00 to 20:00. > Book your free Sagrada Familia tickets here
Merce - Flower carpets
Activity:Mercè 2012: Merce - Flower carpets - catifes de flors Date & time: Friday 21st to Monday 24th September 2012 Where: Avinguda de les Drassanes and Plaça de la Mercè This year you can see flower carpets during the Merce Festival. This is because the Catalan ephemeral art congress takes place at the Drassanes Reials from 21st to 24st September 2012 with thiry delegations from around the world gathering in Barcelona to discuss floral art. Durint the congress there will be wonderful flower carpets on display.
....................................................................................................................... La Merce Festival organisers: Institut de Cultura de Barcelona - Oficina de premsa Address: La Rambla, 99 08002 Barcelona Contact:
Tel: +34 933161069