Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Barcelona La Merce Festival 2008

Every year close to the end of September Barcelona holds its largest street party, La Merce Festival. For ten days, approximately, from 19th to 28th September the city offers nearly 600 cultural and leisure free activities: pyrotechnic shows, open-air concerts, gegants and capgrossos parades, sardanes, castells, correfocs, gincanas, popular marathons... This year programme is based on the dialogue between cultures, because of the celebration of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. Quito is the invited city.

The 24th September is a public holiday in Barcelona and it celebrates the city's patron saint day, Mare de Deu de la Merce, which means Virgin of Mercy. It is quiet normal that it rains during these days. The legend says that they are the tears of Santa Eulalia, patron of Barcelona at that time, who was dismissed in 1687, due to a a locust plague suffered by the city. It was the Virgin of Mercy who helped to overcome the plague and therefore become the new Barcelona´s patron. The decision was ratified also by the Pope Pius IX two centuries later in 1868.

This year la Merce start on Wednesday, which makes the 2008 Festival longer. It has three different parts: The first one is the proclamation, which takes place on September Friday 19th with Jaume Sisa and it gives way to a weekend full of activities. The second part continues the nights of 23rh and 24th and eventualy the weekend of 27th and 28th culminate with the epilogue and many activities presided by the Festa al Cel and the Nits del Ramadà.

The poster of Merce 2008 has been designed by Peret, the 1998 winner of National Design Prize, and it represents an allegory of laugh and happiness. It tries to emphasize the festive load of the act.

La Merce 2008 has some new settings such as the Castell de Montjuïc, the Moll de Barcelona and Fabra i Cotas,. The Castell will be transformed into a circus and performances such us Max et Maurice from France and Denominación de Origen Santa Colomael will be the starts of the show. In the Moll of Barcelona a tribute to king Jaume I, will take place. Eventually in Fabra I Cotas Sol Pico's company will dance together with other smaller proposals

The Ciutadella Parc will host the VII Asia Festival, organized by the Casa Asia, with India as the invited city. In addition to this, a street theatre festival with live music and poetry will be celebrated.

Music is the great protagonist in this edition because of BAM festival. Among the different styles, the Forum will host concerts from Gertrudis, Lucas Marciano, Melendi, Vitruvi, Iguana Tango, Chenoa, La Guardia, La Unión and much more.

Another emblematic landmark act of Merce festival is pyrom-musical, which closes the largest party in Barcelona.

No other party has such a variety of free activities like this one. Come to Barcelona and discover this amazing festival. Rent an Apartment in Barcelona before it is fully booked and enjoy this lovely festival

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