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beso amor barcelona

Hard to understand for those who have never experienced it, Saint George’s Day is a popular festive day when book and rose stalls, and, above all, floods of people, take over the streets of all Catalan towns and villages. The celebration could not be simpler: the ritual consists of going for a walk and buying a rose, a book or both to give to loved ones, family members and friends. Although it is not a public holiday, the day and the essential walk fill the streets and squares, making it a unique national festival celebrated on a working day.

The most popular legend in Catalonia about Sant Jordi tells that at Montblanc, in Conca de Barberà, there was a terrible dragon which viciously attacked men and beasts. To pacify it, lots were drawn and a person was chosen to be given as a sacrifice to the monster. One day, the misfortune fell on the king’s daughter, who would have died in the beast’s claws if it had not been for the arrival of a handsome knight who challenged the dragon and killed it. The tradition adds that from bloodshed was born a rose with red flowers…

amor fiesta barcelona

The origin of this unusual festival can be found in a mixture of traditions and customs from different periods. The fact that Saint George (Sant Jordi) is the patron saint of Catalonia (officially since 1456, although he was being venerated as early as the 8th century) coincides with another medieval custom of celebrating a Rose Fair or “Lovers’ Fair” at the Palau de la Generalitat.

The Dia del Llibre (the Book Day) is much more recent. According to some sources, it was first held on October 7th 1926. The original idea came from the Barcelona-based Valencian writer Vicent Clavel Andrés, who proposed it to the Cambra Oficial del Llibre de Barcelona. Shortly afterwards, in 1930, the date was changed to April 23rd, to commemorate the fact that the writers Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare both died on 23 April 1616, although according to different calendars.

The beauty, the love and the protest air which the Catalans live this emblematic day surprises very much the tourists. The balconies fill with Catalan flags and the streets of people (rose and book in hand) ready to go … If you want to go out to have dinner you must think that at night all the restaurants are full of lovers, so make a reservation!

AltiroBarcelona wishes you Happy Sant Jordi’s Day

libros sant jordi barcelona

 

Easter is here!

During the days previous to Easter, the pastry shops of Catalonia exhibit a delicious and original show: cakes and chocolate figures, some of which are so complex and detailed that we can talk of real art works. This tradition, which is typical from Catalonia and Valencia, is known as “Mona de Pascua” (Easter cake). Its name comes from the Arabic term ‘munna’, which means “provision of the mouth”, a gift in the shape of sweet food that the Moriscos (Moorish convert to Christianity who remained in Spain after the Reconquest) used to make for their lords to celebrate that Lent was over.

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During the following weekend there are some processions around the city and on Monday March 28th (Lunes de Pascua) is tradition to eat “La mona de Pascua” it is a cake accompanied by several figures of chocolate. The godfather present to the godchildren on the Mona Day (Día de la Mona). This is the day when families get together to eat the mona as a dessert.

Altiro barcelona will be open until Thursday 3pm. Friday to Monday the office will be closed. Enjoy the holidays and see you on Tuesday!

Navidad-barcelona

You know that Christmas is coming to Barcelona when Fira de Santa Llúcia opens?

The Fira de Santa Llúcia is an outdoor market where you find everything you need to permeate the spirit of Christmas: Clay figures for Bethlehem, mistletoe, the tree and its ornaments, crafts, drums, the “Tió” and the famous’ caganers ‘!

For the people of Barcelona is a custom to go with the kids for a walk, despite the cold, so to live and feel the Christmas atmosphere and be surrounded by good marketer. It is celebrated during the month of December (this year it starts on November 27th) in the Cathedral Square, has nearly 300 stalls and, for years, also held a replica in the Sagrada Família Square.

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The earliest date that we know of the fair, is for the year 1786 and since then, no calamity, as the terrible epidemic of yellow fever that plagued city of Barcelona in 1860, did not stop the celebration. It is said that the trade show was known as “the fair of the girls” because they thought single girls were going to hunt husband, but that are old gossip …

The two “firas” open every day until December 23rd, so now you know where to buy holiday decorations ¿We begin to feel the magic of Christmas?

navidad-barcelona

 

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La Mercè (Festes de la Mercè 2014 From September 18th to 24th) is the festival of the city and a showcase of Catalan traditions, also a unique opportunity to see in action the best street performers and enjoy good free concerts.

Legend has it that the night of September 24, 1218, the Virgin appeared simultaneously to King James I, and San Pedro Nolasco Penyafort San Ramon. The three were asked that would create an order of monks dedicated to saving Christians imprisoned by the Saracens. Those were times of religious war. Centuries later in 1687, Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts, and placed itself in the hands of the Virgin of La Mercè. Once the plague had been overcome, the Council of the City named her patron saint of Barcelona.

The last blast of summer before the autumn starts, the streets are filled with music and joy for all. La Mercè is the festival of festivals, where, in just a few days there are hundreds of activities like these:

  • BAM(Barcelona Musical Action): to hear new sounds
  • Mercè Arts de Carrer (MAC): circus arts, dance and street arts.
  • Festival of tradition: human castles, bigheads, giants and all the festive beasts of the city.
  • The Fire Festival: all kinds of sparks from the musical fireworks to the Fire Run…

 

With a long etcetera of more than 500 activities to everyone’s taste.La Mercè is the festival of a thousand faces. Welcome to Barcelona, welcome to La Mercè!