The Gràcia neighbourhood of Barcelona is known for its unforgettable street parties. A mix between a rock concert and an art exhibition, this festival is an outburst of creativity and humour with lots of food and drink.
The Festa Major de Gràcia is held in mid-August, usually between August 15 and 21. The opening day of the festival falls on Assumption Day, which is a holiday in Spain. It is one of Barcelona's biggest block parties, known for its hospitality and inclusive character. However, this is a festival for the Gràcia residents and has a history that dates back to over 200 years. Locals ask visitors to be respectful of the local traditions and decorations.
Decorations are probably the most important part of the Festa Major de Gràcia, as residents compete passionately to make their street the best decorated. Each block chooses a theme and covers the whole street with decorations, stretching banners between buildings, experimenting with colour, papier-mâché sculptures, and recycled materials. Balconies are turned into works of art with everything they can find, from plastic bottles to paper and cardboard.
Some of Gràcia's 20 streets look like caves because of the decorations over them.
The festival first took place in 1817 and became very popular right away due to the colourful decorations on the streets and Nova Canço Catalana (New Catalan Song) live music. During Franco times, the festival showcased Catalan culture and traditions amidst some suppression.
Festa Major de Gràcia is marked by the Giants' Parade, Sardana Dances, and live concerts. There is also a Correfoc parade with devils. Devils dance and run through the streets with sparks and fireworks. A band follows, accompanying the parade with a beat.