What's on in Barcelona
Sant Jordi (St George's Day)
St George is the patron saint of Catalonia, and on the 23rd you will find people selling roses on literally every street corner, and bookstalls set up with roughly the same frequency.
As a gentleman you are supposed to give your lady a rose, the rose being said to have sprung from where the dragon's blood fell; as a lady you are supposed to give your knight-in-shining-armour a book. The book comes either (a) from the fact that April 23rd also happens to be the date of the deaths of both Shakespeare and Cervantes and (b) is thus World Book Day or (c) from the fact that it's a golden opportunity to flog some books.
It has become a little commercialised, but it's still a cute tradition and, to judge from the throngs on the Ramblas, a very popular one.
April 29–June 5
The truly outstanding World Press Photo exhibition, at the CCCB, includes some of the breathtaking images taken by photojournalists around the world in the last year.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00-20.00.
Locking the world's leaders up inside on a starvation diet for a week or so would surely fix quite a number of the world's problems...
May 31-June 4 2017
The Primavera Sound is one of Barcelona's top annual music festivals.
The 2016 line-up included, among many others, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Tame Impala, The Last Shadow Puppets, Sigur Rós and Brian Wilson and a long etcetera, not all of whom, we confess, we'd actually ever heard of.
For 2017, there are a whole bunch of peeple we've frankly never heard of -- excluding Van Morrison, that is!
2017 tickets are €180, €305 if you want to make that VIP.
Barcelona goes wild on St Joan, drinking cava, the local sparkling wine, consuming a frankly rather boring coca de St Joan, a dry cake with candied fruit of various kinds on top, blasting off the annual budget of a small developing nation in fireworks and partying on the beach till dawn and the Guardia Urbana come along.
The fireworks are something else. You remember Apocalypse Now? Walking the streets on the night of the 23rd is about like that. Wild!
More about Sant Joan on the official BCN site.
- Info: English, Spanish, Catalan
Barcelona's "festa major", La Mercé, is named after its patron saint and includes music and dance as well as some spectacular traditions such as the castellers (human castles, pictured, right) and the correfoc (literally the firerun), at which dragons belch fire over the packed crowds and demons spray everyone with sparks.
The Mercé also includes a very popular 10km fun run across the city.
October to December
Supposedly one of the best in Europe (but then that does tend to get added to just about everything that is on in Barcelona), with this year's program (the 49th edition of the Festival) still to be announced.
We have a few odd Christmas traditions here in Barcelona, as this page shows...
If you are visiting Barcelona and going to be decorating the house for Christmas - particularly if you have a crib (Nativity scene), don't miss the Feria de Santa Lucia, in the square in front of the Cathedral.
As for those odd traditions, note the traditional Catalan figure of the "caganer", the (ahem...) "shitter" (as illustrated). You wanna buy one?