The UK summer may have been a wash out, but holidaymakers can still find summer fun by booking cheap flights to Barcelona, where the annual festival of La Mercè begins on 21 September.
Les Festes de la Mercè is an annual four-day event commemorating the Virgin of La Mercè (the Virgin Mary), patron saint of the city. The Virgin plays a particularly significant role in Barcelona, having appeared as a ‘figure of salvation’ in 1218 and 1687. However, she was not officially declared a patron saint until it was ratified by the Pope in 1868. The annual feast day of 24 September was ushered in three years later, preceded by several days of festivities.
Numerous Attractions to Enjoy
The festival really became established in 1902, with traditions that included papier mache giants and regional dances. Today, the festival is based around aspects of Mediterranean culture, with a vast programme of events taking place in the old town district of Barrio Gotico. Billed as a festival of festivals, it is reportedly a riotous, noisy explosion of more than 500 events, many of them taking place simultaneously.
Key attractions include the Festival of Tradition (in which human castles, giants and other mediaeval entities parade the streets); the Fire Festival, with fireworks to music and the famous Fire Run; the Festival of the Sky, with aerobatics and balloon races, a music festival showcasing every genre imaginable and – wherever one looks – Barcelona street arts.
People booking cheap flights to Barcelona with Jet2.com will be pleased to know that all events are free, with accommodation for all budgets.