Grácia Festival - Barcelona's street party
One of the biggest festivals of the year in Barcelona has just started. Festa Major de Gràcia is a week long event that takes place every year on the 15th of August, and is celebrated for seven to ten days.
Its most distinctive element is the ornamentation of the streets in the neighbourhood in which every year they compete to win the prize for best decoration. The participants create remarkable, sometimes real-life looking themes that range from movies, events, books, political views and more. This year you can expect to see Ghostbuster's, Rock & Roll, an elaborate mountain village with snow and among many others. This cultural phenomenon gathers locals, schools and volunteers who work hard on their imaginary concept and create masterpieces from recycled items.
Additionally you can enjoy free outdoor concerts, popular dances such as the bastoners, castellan exhibitions, giants and cabezudos (big heads) and many other artistic happenings. During the day you can expect to find groups of Catalan "bandits" in traditional costumes with blunderbuss guns marching down the main streets. At night time be on the look out for the striking correfocs (fire runs) of devils and dragons spitting fire. There are children and adult versions scheduled, though it is nothing like you've seen before, be extra careful with the fireworks. Aside from the decorated streets, the human towers or castellers are the festival's biggest attractions as this breathtaking practice is declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The Grácia festival is catalan culture in a nutshell. To find out more about the activities, visit the official website www.festamajordegracia.cat.