La Mercè, patroness of Barcelona
Legend has it that on the night of September 24, 1218, the Virgin appeared simultaneously to King James I, at Saint Peter Nolasco and San Ramon de Penyafort. All three asked them that creates an order dedicated to saving Christians imprisoned by the Saracens monks. They were times of religious war.
Centuries later, in 1687, Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts and put in the hands of the Virgin of Mercy. Finished the plague, the City Council named her patron saint of Barcelona. But the Pope did not ratify this decision until two centuries later, in 1868.
The origins of the festival
After Pope Pius IX declared the Virgin of Mercy patron of the city, Barcelona began to celebrate their holidays in September. The Merce took off in 1902 when, under the impulse of Francesc Cambo, one festival that became the model that still take place in Catalonia was held. Anyway, the story of La Mercè would suffer many ups and downs that spread after the civil war and the Franco years.
La Mercè today
With the arrival of democracy, La Mercè reached the character genuinely popular festival thanks to the collaboration of organizations across the city. Today, La Mercè is a festival festively occupies a large number of public spaces with a program centered on Mediterranean culture. In less than a week Barcelona brings together a huge program that will force you to choose: street arts, parades, concerts, traditional dances…
The more traditional activities of the Mercè are actually a compendium of popular culture in Catalonia. In them the gerundense Sardana, the castles and devils Camp de Tarragona, dances that still remain alive throughout the Catalan geography … appear The great Barcelona specialties are parades, related to the colorful processions were held for centuries with Corpus reason. It is the oldest street shows we maintain. Today, as yesterday, the organization of the parade features popular culture groups working side by side with street artists. Their joint work serves to keep alive the festive and theatrical vocation born with these shows.