La Merce

La Merce, a BCN festival celebrating Saint Mare de Deu de la Merce, came on September 23rd-24th.  I’m beginning to see a pattern here with celebrating the saints’ days and having huge blowout parties…  Hmm…

La Merce featured traditional Catalan Bastoner dances, human Castells, and a Carrefoc “fire run” (don’t tell my Grandma).  The castells were incredible to watch: well-practiced groups of people make human towers by standing on each other’s shoulders, at times going 5 PEOPLE TALL before capping it off with a small child who climbs to the top and holds up 4 fingers to symbolize the Catalan flag, then all disassembling.  The crowds, which filled the Placa St. Jaume, watched in perfect silence as each person carefully set themselves in position.

The Carrefoc is certainly an interesting tradition, where teams from each neighborhood of the city dress as devils and run though “Hell’s Gate” on the Via Liatana, carrying pitchforks with spinning flares atop and shooting sparks over the crowds gathered.  Larger floats decorated as hellbeasts have several flares each, and light up the streets with their jets of fire.  Once again, don’t tell my Grandma, but my jacket caught a spark and I had to be extinguished, burning a hole in my jacket and shirt underneath.  HOWEVER, it gives me quite the story when I tell of my Carrefoc experience.

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