Well, I survived my first Mercè, this is definitely a week I’ll remember. During the day there are a bunch of festivals and family friendly activities, but at night it was pretty much a huge party in the streets of Barcelona. There were a bunch of concerts taking place all throughout the city with music and bands from all around the world. Streets and plazas were closed down and on Friday and Saturday the concerts at the Forum continued until five in the morning. After the concerts, the city was trashed, there were cans and bottles all over the streets, but what shocked me was that come the morning, it was all cleaned up.
Programs were passed out a week prior, but all the events listed were in Catalan so with some of friends, I was able to decide on which events to attend. I made sure to see the traditional Mercè events such as the Castells (human pyramids), Gigantes (people walking in giant paper mache costumes) and catch some of the concerts in the park. Although there were some events that I stumbled upon that were unexpected such as, Correfoc. Correfoc is a Catalan tradition where people dress up as devils and parade down the streets while drumming and setting off huge fireworks. It was actually really scared when I saw it, there were sparks flying in the air and people watching were pushing trying to avoid the sparks from hitting them – I’m not a big fan of fire. There was also an amazing firework and fountain show that closed the Mercè events in Plaza Espana on Sunday. The fireworks show was themed around popular movie music and lasted for about 45 minutes. Sparklers were passed out when you entered the park and at 10:30 p.m. everyone lit their sparkler and held it in the air, it was an amazing sight and an awesome way to put a close to the week long event.
One of my favorite things was that a lot of the museums supported Mercè by offering discounted or free entrances to their museums. I visited both the Museu de la Xocolata (a museum dedicated to the history of chocolate and a bunch of chocolate sculptures) and Poble Espanyol (a mini Spain, with replicas of all the main attractions and streets throughout Espana).