Gràcia’s Major Festivity, one the most exciting activities in Barcelona.
If you’re planning to visit Barcelona during summer, this activity is a must!
Since moving to Spain, there’s one tradition in particular that I’ve absolutely loved: the “Quarters Festivities” (yes, I just came up with that name on the spot).
Here’s the deal: every neighborhood has its own special moment of the year when it celebrates…something. The streets get crowded and are lined with kiosks offering food and souvenirs. Decorations hang from balconies. Most importantly, creativity can be found everywhere. When we come down to it, there is one festival that I think stands out from the rest: Gracia’s Major Festivity or Fiesta Mayor de Gràcia in Spanish.
First, I’d like to discuss my feeling and experiences with Gràcia. This unique neighborhood is my favorite in Barcelona City! I love its ambiance and cool vibes. I love how the narrow streets are painted with graffiti as locals express themselves while creatively promoting their businesses. Needless to say, it’s worth seeing.
The city’s style becomes bohemian, urban, and modern all at the same time. There are tons of places for kids to learn art and theater after school. Local stores feature fine clothes and trendy styles. The barbershops are amazing and offer haircuts with a hipster or lumbersexual touch. These small markets are filled with local cuisine, and then there are the bakeries and furniture stores! I think it’s now clear why I love Gracia’s Neighborhood.
Now for the History:
The first Gracia’s Major Festivity was held on August 15th, 1817 when the neighbors decided to perform a procession to restore la Virgen de la Masía de Can Trilla to its original place. The statue had been hidden to protect it from the war. After a huge party, the villagers (Gràcia in Catalonian is also known as Vila de Gràcia) decided to celebrate every August 15th. As years passed, the celebration evolved from the creativity of more attendees until it became the festival that we enjoy today.
Each year, locals and visitors decorate more than 20 streets with some of the most creative art you’ll ever see. The bars and restaurants are packed! There is at least one beer tap per street. The prices are very cheap, so anyone can afford a quick drink and get into the mood a little faster. You’ll find cool souvenirs, and they are often sold to benefit various charities. Since the streets are packed, it’s very important to keep your belongings safe. For more info about this and getting around in Barcelona, check my Barcelona Tips 2021 You Must Know Before Visiting Us! post.
During the four years that I’ve been living in Barcelona, the festival seems to be even better each year than it was the last (Covid time doesn’t count). You can also enjoy concerts featuring young local talents sharing their musical gifts. The streets are decorated in themes, and I still remember the ones I’ve seen while enjoying Gràcia’s Major Festivity:
-Witchcraft and demons.
-Ghostbusters, including the Marshmallow Man standing more than 4m in height.
-The Never-Ending Story.
-Da Vinci’s Experiments with wheels and an almost life-size painting of the Vitruvian man.
-The Little Prince.
Gràcia has several plazas that are filled with tables from local restaurants. Villagers perform a variety of shows there during the festival.
There was one that I found particularly memorable about a dragon and fire. It featured a band with drums playing some sort of rumba I loved it! That, blending with the spectacle of fire and people jumping in a massive dragon costume like the Chinese videos we see on YouTube (or on TV before that), really made my day. I loved it.
By now, you probably have a good idea of how much fun it can be to visit during Gracia’s Major Festivity. I hope we can enjoy the festival soon, once you’ve decided to visit Barcelona while the event is taking place.
Thanks for reading my blog!
See you in my next post!
I’ll leave the map of the area of Gràcia’s Neighborhood so you can find it easily: