La Mercè is the biggest street festival in Barcelona and held every year around 25th of September. This year the festivities are celebrated from 22nd to 25th of September.
La Mercè festival has been organized since 1902, even though some years, depending on current political situations on that time in history, the festival has been much smaller event compared on what it is now. The 25th of September, The Day of La Mercè is said to be celebrated yearly since 1687! Now the La Mercè festival is one of the most popular celebrations in Barcelona.
This festival is definitely worth visiting if you are staying in Barcelona in September! Streets of the city will be filled up with different free concerts, activities and traditional dances, events and actions. The most traditional Catalan activities are correfoc (fire-run), bulding of castellers (human towers) and parade of the gegants (traditional giants).
The legend of La Mercè is based on the night of August 2nd in 1218 when Virgin Mary appeared to the Catalan knight Pere Nolasc. The knight formed a sacred order of monks in the name of Virgin Mary as she asked. Order of Mercy was dedicated on ransoming Christians who had been taken prisoners by Saracen pirates.
All the details of the Order of Mercy are kept in the Aragon Crown archives in Barcelona. In 1868 La Mercè was formalized as the patron saint of Barcelona by the City Council after Pope Pius IX had canonized the chose.
You can read more about Festes de la Mercè and see the full festival program from here.
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