February 14th, 2008 – by: paulkernan
The catalan capital commemorates its escape from plague through the intercession of Our Lady Of Mercy, to whom terrified citizens turned for deliverance. All these centuries later the event is marked by a long weekend festival culminating in the Mercé anniversary on September 24th. This is a very distinctive event, it also marks the return of vibrance (and local inhabitants) to the city after the heat and visitor influx of July and August. There are childrens events and a whole street in Garcia dedicated to ittle people's enjoyment. Almost every square and Placa in the city centre is splashed with stalls, posters, colour and atmosphere. Therere several 'special events' including the Carrefoc fireworks and devils parade - scary and insane. One highlight that you must look out for is the competition were a group of people try and form the highest human tower. The best place to find the towers is in Placa de Sant Jaume where participants in traditional costume (castellers) climb on top of one another until they can hold no more. This human tower often reaches around eight levels. The closing ceremony on the 24th (a local public holiday) up by Placa Espania is spectacular. Over 250,000 people gather to enjoy fireworks, lights and music all choreographed in time with the stunning water fountain display. There is free music, food and dancing and one still manages to get an little intimate glimpse into the soul of this multi-layered city. A must for children of all ages!