FESTES DE GRÀCIA FEAST (BARCELONA) READY FOR SOME FUN TIME?
From August 15th to 21th we will celebrate the Gràcia neighborhood feast known as Festa Major de Gràcia, one of the most spectacular of all Barcelona and Catalonia.
Every year, for more than 200 years, Gràcia dress up: decorating its streets with colors, inspiring people to be part of high human towers, populating its space with giant puppets, and to give life, music and fun to a number of people coming to this beautiful neighborhood.
Are you ready for some fun time?
More than 200 years of feasts!
It all started more than 200 year ago, when Gràcia was only a small rural village a mile or so away from historical Barcelona. While Barcelona grew and merged with Gracia, this lovely village never stopped celebrating, except in extremely dire times, like the Spanish Civil War. The time has passed, and the feast grew too, in importance and fame. Nowadays, it is not rare to find travelers from the all over the world looking open mouthed at the decorated streets.
Peacocks are opening their feathers: the decorated streets of Gràcia
Among the many attractions are the its decorated streets, prepared months before by the members of different street associations living in those streets. And….guess what?! They compete!
The best decorated street
This August of 2023, not five, not ten but as many as twenty-three streets will compete for the best decorated street prize. As peacocks, they will show the best part of them and, as peacocks, they want to be the most beautiful.
Creativity and recycled material are the ingredients
How do you decorate the streets with the limited financial resources a street association has? Well, the ingredients are dedication, a lot of fantasy, creativity and recycled material. The decorations are amazing and never leave you less than impressed. Can’t wait to see them!
Getting close to the sky: the Human towers or Castellers
Hey!… what’s going on there? Before, there was just a square. Now, we can see a tower, a human tower.
A staple at important feasts in Catalonia
I think that human beings love to touch the sky! It starts when they are kids, when they are on swings. Up on the sky…. and down… Human towers are a proof of intelligence, teamwork and resilience, and strength. In Catalonia, they are an essential feature at any important feast or FESTA MAJOR. Human towers are part and parcel of our local traditions and popular culture.
Ever seen them live?
If you’re a local, there’s no way they could have escaped your notice. If you don’t live in Iberia, have you ever heard of them?
I am always thrilled to see them assemble and then disassemble their ephemeral living structures. It takes experience, team work, and enthusiasm.
The Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia
The Castellers or Human Tower Group of the Vila de Gràcia was formed in 1997 and, over the years, have become one of the main attractions at the Festa Major de Gràcia.
Three human tower events at the Gràcia’s Feast
If you are unfamiliar with human towers, the Gràcia Feast is an excellent opportunity for you to watch them being built and unbuilt.
The Colla de la Vila de Gràcia will perform the “Baixada del Pilar” …. or the moving human tower pillar. They will also celebrate the “Diada de Vigilies”, a nighttime human tower session with an invited human tower group from outside the neighborhood.
However the main session is the “Diada Castellera” de Festa Major, which this year will be celebrated on August 20th.
The Colla castellera de Gràcia and another two invited human tower groups join this important Feast of Gràcia celebration. Get there early! The Plaça de la Vila square will be packed with locals and travelers!
Video: Colla Jove Xiquets of Valls building a human tower in Gràcia’s Plaça de la Vila Square (August 2022)
The Dancing giants
Almost as big as human towers, the impressive Gegants (giant puppets) are very popular in Catalonia and the Feast of Gràcia wouldn’t be the same without them.
Gegants de Gràcia
Gràcia has its own Dancing Giants group, the Gegants de Gràcia! Founded in 1984, they perform two different dances specifically for the Feast of Gràcia: the Toc de Gràcia and the Ball del Festeig.
Tall and majestic, you will feel a Lilliputian from Gulliver’s Travels, in front of the Giant puppets of Gràcia.
Want to know more?
Are you curious? Would you like to know more about the Dancing Giants? Read here
Gran finale… with a bang!
In Gràcia the Festa Major always ends in style! On the last night a great Correfoc (“Firerun”) takes place in the local streets. Devils, groups of clad with dark hoodies, devil puppets, Like Atzeries, and Gràcia’s Dragon, join the parade culminating in the Plaça de la vila (Gràcia’s Main Square)
Devils are popular here
Devil groups are exceptionally popular in Gràcia… there’s not one, but three such groups: the Colla Vella de Gràcia, the Diabolica, and the Malefica del Coll.