Indulge yourself in Barcelona´s rich culture
Barcelona´s Vibrant Cultural Scene
The peculiarity of Catalan culture, mixed with the Spanish proclivity for fiestas, transforms Barcelona into an especially fun city of character the whole year round. Among the most popular ones are:
La Cavalcada de Reis on January 5 is one of Spain’s most theatrically elaborate Parade of the Three Kings that officially culminates its long Christmas season. It starts at 4:30 in the afternoon when the Three Kings arrive at the Barcelona docks where the city mayor welcomes them. The imaginative parade then winds its way around Barcelona’s major thoroughfares. Children eagerly await the shower of candies.
Festes de Santa Eulalia in February honors Barcelona’s patron saint who they call Laia for short. It is during this fiesta that one witnesses many Catalan folkloric traditions: correfocs, gegants, castellers and the sardana dance. During the fiesta, some of the city’s top museums like the Picasso Museum and Fundació Joan Miro offer free entrance.
Festes de San Josep Oriol in March takes place in El Barri del Pi, the neighborhood around Santa Maria del Pi church. It honors St. Joseph Oriol, a devout priest who lived in that part of town and was famous for curing the sick. There is a festival of giants, a parade, castellers, and a chocolatada that serves chocolates galore.
Dia de Sant Jordi (St. George Day) on April 23 is Barcelona’s indigenous version of St. Valentine’s Day when men give women roses and women give books to men. There is a profusion of flowers in the city as vendors set up shops along Plaça Catalunya, Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia, and Rambla Catalunya.
La Nit dels Museus in May is Barcelona’s Night of the Museums. The city’s almost 70 museums offer free entrance from 7pm to 1am. Warning: the queues can be long, so head out early. Barcelona’s roster of museums is the most varied among European cities: contemporary art, modern art, archaeology, anthropology, historical, technological, maritime – you name it, Barcelona has it.
The Primavera Sound in June is a 3-day music advocates that attract mega artists as well as indie artists from all over the globe.
Festa de la Mercè takes place around September, the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, the other patron saint of Barcelona, and is the city’s largest festival. About a staggering number of 600 events takes place in Plaça Sant Jaume where Barcelona’s Ayuntamiento (town hall) is, as well as in several sites such as the lovely pier side of La Barceloneta, Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, Park Ciutadella, and in many other neighborhoods of the city. The festival repertoire includes concerts, gegants, workshops, castellers, correfocs, theater, kids’ activities, performances, and a lot more. As if all these are not enough, the fiesta concludes with a fireworks show.
The Distinctive Catalan Cuisine
Several Catalan cookbooks from the Middle Ages are known to modern scholars. The characteristic of Catalan gastronomy is its reliance on ingredients popular along the Mediterranean coast: fresh vegetables, wheat products for bread and pasta Arbequina olive oil, wines, legumes, nuts, all sorts of pork preparations, cheese and poultry, and a great variety of fish.
In the pinnacle of Catalan gustatory treats is fideua, paella’s cousin, and the mandatory cream Catalana, the ancestor of the popular creme brûlée elsewhere in the world.
When in Barcelona, welcome yourself with a drink of cava, the quality sparkling wine indigenous to Catalonia from its traditional grape varieties Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarei-lo. The village of Sant Sadurni d´Anoia in Catalonia is home to some of the biggest cava production houses.