Festa Major de Grácia: A Very Barcelona Experience

Today marks the beginning of the week-long Festa Major de Grácia, a yearly tradition in which enthusiastic residents of Barcelona’s Grácia neighborhood transform the narrow alleys of the barrio with magnificent paper mache sculptures of everything from trees to people to a giant tyrannosaurus rex.

A hungry TRex haunts the Gracia festival, one of the cultural gems we write about on the Barcelona Experience Blog
T-Rex guards Carrer Progrés

Food, music and fire are the highlights of the thoroughly Barcelonese festival. If you’re lucky enough to be in Barcelona during Festa Major de Grácia, attend the party with two things in mind. First, do your best to blend in; Grácia can be a little resistant to tourists. Second, have as much FUN as possible! The festival will conclude during the early hours of August 22.

Umbrella illuminate the path down Carrer Tordera

Festa Major de Grácia: The Food

Overview

The streets of Grácia will be saturated in the sumptuous aromas of home-cooked meals. Along with the elaborate scenes you’ll find, you’ll also see residents of the streets enjoying meals at long tables. Don’t worry, though. You may not have a seat at a neighborhood table, but you’ll be able to sample nearly every Catalan dish under the sun. The bars of Grácia will be pumping out food left and right, as well as culinary tents set up along the way. You’ll be able to enjoy a juicy butifarra or a crispy torrada in the shadow of phenomenal paper-mache scenes.

Recommendations

Most dishes will cost you between 2€ and 5€.  Tasta Grácia will be your home base for great food. Located in Jardins de Manuel Torrente  (check out the map below), the Tasta Grácia site will feature Catalán, Spanish and Italian cooking. Try the barbecue at 9 p.m. today; patatas bravas, vermouth and snails at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and the Catalonian wine tasting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

Festa Major de Grácia: The Music

Overview

Swing. Jazz. Blues. Rock. Hundreds of hours of music will pulse through the streets of Grácia during the week-long festival. You’ll have your choice of a myriad of styles and sounds. Stages will be set up in many neighborhood squares and bars will feature local and international acts.
Esponja will rock Carrer de la Perla

Recommendations

Carrer de la Perla will be a hot spot for great music during Festa de Grácia. The best time to hit Perla is 11 p.m. At this time you can catch Radical Animal Beat on Saturday, Soweto on Sunday, Cardova on Monday, A Contrablues on Tuesday, Jinko Vilova on Wednesday and Ariel Santamaria on Thursday. Be sure to check out Barcelona’s Esponja on Thursday at 12:30 a.m.

Festa Major de Grácia: The Fire

Overview

Few moments during the Barcelona festival calendar can match the sheer madness and magnificence of Correfoc, the Fire Run. Correfoc isn’t unique to Barcelona. It’s a tradition enjoyed all around Spain, and similar celebrations take place throughout Europe during the year.
In Catalonia, Correfoc dates back to the 12th century, when the celebrations represented the fight against good and evil. Hence, you’ll see many a devil running down the narrow streets of Grácia.
And, yes, you’ll see an insane amount of fiery sparks, exploding fireworks, elaborate costumes and rowdy drum lines that converge on Placa de la Vila around 11:30 p.m. for the final celebration.
A scene from Corre Foc, one of the cultural gems we write about on the Barcelona Experience travel blog.
Our silhouetted copywriter braving the 2013 Correfoc inferno

Recommendations

  • BRING EARPLUGS! The fireworks explosions echo off the narrow streets and create mind-numbing pops that will make your ears ring.
  • If you’re bringing kids to the festival, your best bet will be the kid’s Correfoc. This family-friendly little brother of the main Correfoc is toned down and tons of fun for the little ones. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday  in Placa del Diamante and ends at 7:30 p.m. in Placa de la Vila.

 

  • The main Correfoc begins at 9:30 p.m. in Placa Trilla and ends around 11:30 p.m. in Placa de la Vila (see map below). The procession will wind its way through Grácia. If you arrive late, don’t worry. Despite its name, the Fire Run moves slowly. Follow the sound of the drums.
  • If you’re the adventurous type, don long pants and a hoodie. Locals love to jump right into the fray and huddle underneath the sparks.
  • Calibrate your drinking. Temperatures tend to be hot, the crowds tend to be crazy and the whole evening is a delicate balance of regulated madness. For your own sake and safety, be wise in your alcoholic consumption.
Let us know if you have a question about Festa de Grácia or Correfoc. We’ll be happy to answer! You can leave a comment below, or you can tweet us at @bcn_exp.

 

*All but one of the photos in this post are from www.festamajordegracia.cat, the official website of Festa Major de Grácia.

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