Last week I went back to the UK to visit family and friends in London, arriving just in time for the closing ceremony of the Olympics. I hoped to watch the ceremony on the big screen by Tower Bridge, but arrived to discover that it was only being shown in Hyde park with ridiculous ticket prices. I also spent about as much on transport in the few days I was in London as I normally do in a month in Barcelona!
Although I’m glad to be back in Barcelona, it is August and that means a baking 34°C and humid nights. It also means that it’s the time of two of Barcelona’s big Festes Majors:
Hold on… just what the heck is a festa major anyway?
It’s an annual celebration in towns (or neighborhoods for cities like Barcelona) marking the patron saints’ day or an important historical event. Essentially it’s an event that brings together the people of a community to share food, drinks, games and cultural activities.
The Festa major de Gràcia is perhaps the most popular in Barcelona, attracting locals as well as many tourists. The main attractions are often the streets themselves, as they are decorated by hand-crafted (and usually recycled) materials. Throughout the year different communities collect materials such as plastic bottles or fruit crates and save them to create fantastic street-art. Have a look at what I found when I went a’wondering through the streets of Gràcia:
For anybody that is in Barcelona in the summer, try to visit one of these Festes. You won’t regret it. You can also see some of the typical Catalan traditions, such as castellers (human castles) and correfocs (literally, fire-runs). Seeing these just after being in London reminded me how fantastic it is that there is so much community spirit without commercialism spoiling events.
For full infomation, visit the websites for the Festes (Catalan only):