The summer is coming back irresistibly, and the hostile "Mr. September" comes to remind people that the rains and autumn leaves are coming with him. But September can be fascinating, especially if you visit Barcelona, ​​and in particular, the one-week festival of the Virgin Mary, which is celebrated every year on 24 September.

Barcelona and the La Merce Festival

photo: nextstop-barcelona.com

This is a special holiday that is the pride of every self-respecting Basque in this part of Spain. The holiday started in the Middle Ages. Barcelona has been saved by the miracle of two disasters thanks to, in the words of some people, the patron saint of the City of Our Lady of the Virgin Mary or as she is known in this part of the world - the Mare de Le Merle de Merseys. On September 24 1218, the Holy Mother of God appeared in the dream of King Juan I. She ordered him to issue a decree for the release of Christians detained against their will in the lands of the Saracens. A few centuries later, during the 1687, the city was hit by terrible locusts and again the saint intervened to rid its citizens of this scourge. Despite these miracles, and perhaps because of the Church's involvement in those centuries in the lives of ordinary people, it was not until the 19 century that the holiday received official recognition from local authorities.

Barcelona and the La Merce Festival

Photo: barcelonaguidebureau.com

Since then, there have been various demonstrations, dances coordinated by local authorities. The church hastened to recognize the saint as part of her papacy, and recognized her as patron saint after declaring Pius IX to be pope. During the Franco repression, the holiday was banned by the local authorities, as was the Catalan language. This created tension between Catalonia and the Spanish government in Madrid. With the advent of democracy in the 70 years, the region came to life and the holiday was a great opportunity to showcase the face of Catalan culture. In an attempt to extend its cultural relationship with other countries around the world, Barcelona is a special guest each year for the festivities. Barcelona and the host country collaborate throughout the year bringing together their cultures to create unique projects. The last known guests were Buenos Aires, Stockholm, Montreal, St. Petersburg and Dhaka.

Barcelona and the La Merce Festival

photo: barcelona-top-travel-tips

On the occasion of the holiday, a different poster is made each year by the best artists. It is a huge honor for any artist who wants to leave their work in this important holiday. The posters themselves are considered collectibles.

As part of the program, a celebrity is invited each year to officially celebrate the holiday. Although compulsory, often the opening speech called "pregó" is overlooked. It is interesting that during the 1995 during the war in the former Yugoslavia, the then guest of honor was then Sarajevo Mayor Tariq Kupuzovic, who gave a speech on the siege of the Bosnian capital.

The festival is the place to show Catalan folklore and traditions. The feast demonstrates ancient techniques such as "korefok", a light show in which a group of people dress as devils and use many fireworks while dancing to the sounds of rhythmically beating drums. Some participants wear special suits to protect themselves from the fires that are carried around, while other spectators stand sideways. Corefok has many different options. In some places it is like a parade, while in others participants go through a series of fireworks.

Barcelona and the La Merce Festival

photo: www.praktikhotels.com

Another interesting performance is the Castel or the human pyramids, which are declared by UNESCO to be the Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. These human pyramids are made during La Merce and are called castles. They are human pyramids made up of men, women and children, the latter being at the top of the top and can vary in different numbers, up to 10 people.

Although it is a holiday and Barcelona has an amazing nightlife, the city is commingling with its residents, with most bars closing at 2 in the morning and the first subway at 5, so city guests should keep that in mind, if they decide to have fun.

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