Gràcia is an area of up-town Barcelona that is famed for its laid-back bohemian atmosphere, bustling squares and vibrant street life.
The biggest party in Gracia is relatively new, as is the neighborhood itself, a small nucleus of peasant population, that in the nineteenth century undergoes an extraordinary mutation as a town of artisans, workers and small merchants. Fiesta de Gracia started as a way to pay homage to the patron Saint of the neighborhood, Saint Isidro, on the 15th of May, but it changed so as to be a party around the 15th of August, a festive day in all the country.
The earliest date of this party, according to the “Diario de Barcelona”, is said to be the 19th of August 1827. Since then every year in August the streets of the neighborhood come alive with a party of one week that sees the neighborhood transformed.
Decoration of the streets in Gracia
The concept of Fiesta de Gràcia is that streets in the neighborhood compete to win the prize of being the best decorated street.
Each street tends to take the competition seriously and the standards are high. A theme is chosen by each street and this can cover anything from Roman empire to underwater sea life. Walk through the streets of Gràcia and you will be amazed by the canopies of colorful decoration that are above you and the creativity and originality that each street demonstrates. The programme of the Fiesta fits all tastes and includes street music, concerts in squares, fairs, correfocs, popular dances and activities for the little ones.
Correfoc at the Fiesta de Gracia
It was at the end of 1890 when decorating the streets became a tradition and during the forties the party evolved and there was a great citizen participation, but from the sixties this type of party declined to the point at which only 4 or 5 streets were decorated by the end of the seventies. Around that time, the recently-legalized neighbors associations and the musicians collectives organized concerts and free dances in the squares, which had a reinvigorating effect and by now the parties have completely recovered from their low-point, and they have really strengthened, not only in the neighborhood but also in the whole city of Barcelona.
This year Fiesta de Gracia is celebrated between the 15 to the 21 of August and is fully dedicated to the Bicentennial, two hundred years anniversary of this greate party. Come enjoy it!