Spain is known to be a country filled with festivals and parties celebrating various parts of its rich and diverse history. One of our favorites takes place in Barcelona, in the neighborhood of Gracia. Each year in August the streets of Barcelona's Gracia district come alive with a week-long fiesta that truly transforms the neighborhood.
The Gracia festival dates are always the same, August 15th to 21st every year. The first day of the festival remains on the 15th of August because it is a public holiday in Spain called Assumption day. Filled with street vendors, concerts, and shows, there is always something to keep you occupied during this week. With the aim of bringing the residents and neighbors together in communal activities and events, it makes for a wonderful tradition. Drawing in over one and a half million visitors each year in August, the Gracia festival is the most famous of all the local Barcelona festivals, and with good reason of course!
A highlight of the Gràcia festival is the elaborate decorations and adornments outside. The main concept of the festival is that streets in the neighborhood compete to win the prize of being the best decorated street. With over 21 decorated streets, many locals find it most fun to go at nighttime since many of the decorations are illuminated. Since Gracia was once a separate village from the city of Barcelona, the neighborhood still has narrow village streets and a special village feel and charm. While the area was fully incorporated into the city around 1897, the people still encompass the traditional passion and pride for their neighborhood.
If you time your visit correctly, you'll be able to see some of the elaborate parades including the huge colorful papier-mache giant dolls called gegants that can be up to 4 meters high and human towers known as Castells. These Castells can be seen in many other plazas throughout the week as there are various competitions held where you can watch the people climb each other to the skyline. Another traditional event is the Correfocs, or "fire runs," in which groups of devils chase and dance to the beating of drums and spraying out sparks from fireworks on forked sticks.
Interested in other festivals in Barcelona this summer? Check out our other posts with details on the origins and time frames of the festivals including, Spain's Fire Festival: San Juan, Festivals In Spain, and La Mercè Festival.