One of the best things about living in or visiting Barcelona is that the city is always full of life. No matter if you come in March, July or October, there is always something festive going on somewhere in the city!
Each year there are 65 festa majors in various areas of Barcelona. All these neighborhood festivals are organized by the residents with the goal of bringing the neighbors closer together with several hundreds of organized activities and festive events. The first festa major of the year is held in January in the neighborhood Sant Antoni and the last one is held from the end of November until the beginning of December in Sant Andreu.
Although there are many great street festivals to choose from, the colorful Festa Major de Gràcia is the most popular of them all, with over half a million visitors each year!
What is Festa Major de Gràcia?
Festa Major de Gràcia is a free street festival that anyone is welcome to join. Every year the residents of each street participate in a decorating contest with different themes and styles, and the quality of the home made decorations are always incredibly high. About 18 streets and squares around Gràcia will be decorated and the residents spend hours, if not days, transforming the streets until they become own fantasy-like worlds to get mesmerized by.
The historian Francesc Curet writes in his book “Muralles enllà” that Festa Major de Gràcia was celebrated for the first time in August of 1817. This year Festa Major de Gràcia will celebrate its 200 year anniversary and the 2017 edition is organized by the Festa Major de Gràcia Foundation with the support of Generalitat de Catalunya, Diputació de Barcelona, the city council of Barcelona and the district of Gràcia, with support from San Miguel and La Caixa Foundation.
Around 500 cultural and social events, exhibitions, concerts and workshops are being oranized with the aim of bringing citizens of the whole city closer to the values of the both historical and social tradition of the festival.
Decorations and activities at Festa Major de Gràcia
The street decorations are ready on the 15th of August, however the neighbours will be working outdoors for a few days beforehand. Even if you are not in Barcelona during the actual festival, just seeing the neighbours hard work of decorating their own streets in progress is worth a visit. (Click here and follow our Instagram now to see photos from Festa Major de Gràcia in August)
During this festive week the residents also organize a ton of workshops, concerts, family friendly activities and competitions. Many of these activities are only available for the residents, but out of the 500 activities that are organized, a whole bunch will be free for visitors to enjoy, like the concerts and parades for example.
Correfoc is one of the most popular traditions of every festival all over Catalonia, including Festa Major de Gràcia. Correfoc means firerun in Catalan and consists of dozens of people dressed as devils that will take huge papier-mâché dragons out and parade them around the streets whilst dancing around to loud drums and throwing fire sparks in the air. The drummers of Correfoc also have their own parade called Tabalada Infernal.
Tip! If you plan on watching the Correfoc then a strong recomendation is to bring earplugs! The explosions of the fireworks are going to echo off the narrow streets and might hurt your ears.
Long tables will be filled with local residents enjoying their meals. Even though you might not get a seat, you can still purchase food from different culinary tents set up along the streets of Gràcia during this festival. Most dishes will cost between 2-5€.
The week long festival is genuine, fun and creative and most definitely worth a visit!
Quick facts about Festa Major de Gràcia
When 15 – 21 August 2017 The 15th of August is a public holiday in Spain called Assumption Day and Festa Major de Gracia always takes place from the 15th until the 21th of August.
Where The festival will take place on the streets and squares in Gracia, located about 20 minutes walk from the city center.
Metro stations Lesseps, Fontana, Diagonal (L3) or Joanic (L4)
Opening hours Sunday to Thursday until 02:00 Friday and Saturday until 03:30
This article will be updated with more info and content after this years Festa Major de Gràcia. For a chance to have your photo/video included in this article upload it to Instagram and use hashtag #BCNJourney .