PictureCorrefoc (Fire Run)
La Mercè is an annual festival in observance of the patron saint of Barcelona. It has been an official holiday since 1871, but has been celebrated since 1667 during the middle ages. There are parades, traditional "Sardana" dances, human towers called "Castells," a fire run called "correfoc," fireworks at the beach, speeches, drum lines, over 15 concert stages around the city, trapeze performances, and a lot more. 

For five days every year, the city of Barcelona turns upside into a huge party from September 20th to the 25th. In addition, the festival is a way to say goodbye to the warm summer months, and hello to the cooler months of fall and winter. It is overwhelming how much there is to see and do during La Merce, and the coordination it must take to pull everything together is incredible. 

"Correfoc" (Fire Run) 

This fiery feature of La Mercè stems from 'Ball de Diables," a type of medieval street theatre. During the rule of Spanish Dictactor Franco, much of Catalan culture was banned including the Correfocs and even their native language. With Franco's death, the city of Barcelona didn't waste any time and filled the streets with fireworks and celebration once again.

"Dressed in red and black, wearing horns and masks, ‘colles de diables’ (groups of ‘devils’) dance amongst the crowds accompanied by loud music, waving sparklers, firecrackers, and roman candles, spitting fire into the crowd."  (Sourec: http://www.anglophone-direct.com/Correfocs)

In addition, there are dozens of "fire beathing dragons and beasts," which spit fireworks in all direction. People love to go up and try to get a picture standing right next to one of them.  

It is recommended that you wear long pants, long shirt, hat, and even goggles because you can get burned by the fireworks. As you can see in the video, people are not shy when it comes to the fireworks. This went on for over 3 hours!

"Castells" - Human Towers 

At Placa de Sant Jaume, the Human Tower festival occurred around noon. Never thought I would witness this in person, let alone stand next to the formations! The teamwork, concentration, patience, coordination, and insanity needed to construct these towers is mind blowing. I saw about 9 towers get constructed, and I even witnessed one of the towers collapse. It was truly terrifying, as kids and adults were falling upwards of twenty, maybe even thirty feet. No one was seriously injured to my knowledge. They have been doing these towers for over 100 years!

(Video footage on the way)

Click on the link for a comprehensive explanation of the "Castells." I suggest watching the video at the very bottom of the page, the 2x8, it is the most difficult structure to cleanly construct. Look at the pain in the guys faces at the bottom!!! Craziness!



Leave a Reply

    zach     kalette


    Everyone is a pedestrian, including you! 

    As a lifelong resident of Syracuse, NY, I have grown up in an automobile world with little sense of pedestrian culture.

    Here in Barcelona, the city has an extreme level of pedestrian culture! I will be taking a look at the design  of various urban streets and how their physical form affects pedestrian behavior. 

    study     question

    How do the physical elements of urban streets influence pedestrian behavior, as well as create a walkable environment while interacting with vehicles and bicycle riders in Barcelona?  


    1. Gran Via de les Cortes
    2. Carrer de Comte
    3. Carrer de la Cera
    4. Carrer de l'Hospitat
    5. Rambla del Raval
    6. Carrer de Sant Oleguer
    7. Avengida de les