Catalans appreciate the right to party and to celebrate their identity. The city’s main festivals are enthusiastically participated in and attended. The most important celebrations are linked to the city’s patron saints, both the current incumbents Jordi and Mercè and the previous protector Eulàlia, while each district also has its own feste major. Such events might typically involve correfocs (firework weilding ‘devils’ running down the street with revellers dancing in the sparks); castellers ; gegants (parades of papier-mache giants); sardanes (a folk dance peformed in a circle) and havaneres (a popular local song).

New Year festivities get the calendar under way but foreigners be warned: the local’s eat their 12 grapes at midnight at home with friends and family, then head out to party from around 02:00 or 03:00. The Diada Nacional (National Day of Catalonia), on 11 September, is also worth noting. It marks the loss of independence in 1714, and is a day of remembrance for those who died defending the nation and a celebration of all things Catalan. There may be more political posturing than actual revelry, however.

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