La Merce Festival of Barcelona

  • UPDATED Sep 21, 2018
Image Source:

The La Merce festival of Barcelona is a crazy event that aims at reminiscing about the dying Catalan culture. It also honours the patron saint of the city, the Virgin of La Merce. The festival is generally celebrated in September. This is one of the most important festivals of Barcelona and the whole city stops its daily chores to come down to the streets to enjoy themselves with the family and friends. 

The La Merce Festival is generally celebrated on 24th September. However, the celebrations start a few days prior. The festival was first stages in 1902 with humble events. However, its popularity grew at such rapid rate that it was made an annual festival for the people of Barcelona. Although, the festival is jazzed up with modern technologies today, the origins of this festival is rooted deep in the pages of history. It was originally celebrated as an honour to Saint La Merce who had set free the city of a deadly locust infestation in 1687. From then onwards, the day 24th September has been remembered as La Merce Day as a gratitude to him for saving the people of Barcelona.

Today, locals celebrate this festival with over 2 million tourists from all over the world. Some of the important things to know about the La Merce festival before visiting are given below:


La Merce is one of the biggest festivals of Barcelona and the citizens take it quite seriously. It is a public holiday and the citizens use the holiday quite well by hitting the streets from morning to late night. The streets are lined with stalls and jammed with parades, concerts and other activities. The night life in this city during the festival is even more exciting. There is no limit to the craziness in the celebrations that these people design to celebrate this day. Therefore, before starting the party make sure that you stock up you supplies because no store will be open on the days of La Merce.


The people of Barcelona are too happy during La Merce to care about prosaic things like price. Therefore, most of the activities including festival bars and restaurants are free during this celebration. Hence, you do not have to worry about burning a hole in your pocket while enjoying the unique spirit of Barcelona.


The Catalan wine fair is a recent addition to the La Merce Festival. It is a hub for wine lovers where wine and the traditional drink Cava is served. The wine is brought from the Catalan vineyards and will intoxicate your taste-buds. If you are a wine lover, then this part of the fair is surely worth a visit.


The Fire Run is one of the most popular events of the La Merce Festival. The event starts after the sun sets. Hundreds of citizens dress up as devils and light fireworks are aimed at the spectators. Be warned that safety is the last thing on the mind of the citizens during their festivities. Therefore, tourists are advised to wear clothes with long sleeves and glasses. You can either join in this madness or watch the spectacular event at a safe distance from Via Laietana.


There are spectacular parades that take place on the streets of Barcelona during this festival. The parades include human towers and carnivals and many more novel examples of the Catalan culture.

Overall, the La Merce Festival is a colourful and vivid personification of the rich Catalan culture. You can literally feel the Joie de Vivra running through the veins of the city during this celebration. However, it should be noted that this festival attracts many tourists from all over the world. Therefore, be sure to book your tickets to Barcelona before the prices get inflated.