Three Kings Day (Día de Los Reyes)
On the eve of the Festival of the Epiphany and traditionally when Christmas gift-giving takes place, Parades are held everywhere in Spain, but in Barcelona, the Three Kings arrive in the evening at the port and dispense sweet goodies to the crowd of excitedly waiting for children.
Carnaval. Just before Lent unlike the carnival of Milan and other centres, Carnaval in Barcelona is no great bash, it is mostly done by children but there is a competition between stall owners in the market. So it’s quite something to buy fish from a stall owner dressed in full Louis VI costume.
The Gay community, however, does go all out and many take the short train ride to celebrate with them south of the city.
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
There are traditions unique to Barcelona celebrated at this time. There is the fantasy chocolate creation which is given in the same way as we give Easter Eggs, and the city’s main cathedral has a hollowed out egg placed to bob about in the water of a fountain in the cloister. Out of town in the village of Verges near Girona is the dark Dance of Death where men dress as skeletons and perform a ‘death’ dance. Various Passion Plays are performed, the most famous of which can be seen in the village of Esparraguera approximately 40 km (25 miles) from Barcelona.
The May Day Parade.
This day is now better known as Labour Day and it is trade union members who organise a huge march through the city.
All the streets of Sitges are carpeted in flowers, but be aware that some years this celebration can be held in early June.
Verbena de Sant Juan.
Twelfth Night is celebrated with fireworks set off in the streets and squares and even on the overhanging balconies. The beachfront is alight with bonfires and at dawn, it is the tradition to have your first ocean swim of the year as it is officially the first day of summer.
The very best multi-media festival on the world circuit brings thousands from all over Europe for Live DJ concerts plus a variety of other entertainments. Daytime events are held at the Museum of Contemporary Art and in the evening everything moves to the trade fair buildings. Tickets
La Diada de Catalunya
celebrates the region’s autonomy and marks the day the city was besieged by the Spanish and French troops during the War of Succession in 1714.
the celebration to honour the patron saint of Barcelona and Barcelonans give thanks in whole-hearted and riotous style. There are free concerts. The streets are filled with costumed city folk. There are giants, fat-heads and street dancing. There are human pyramids, firework displays and as a grand finale, a parade of firework brandishing devils and dragons.