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Of all the memorable Catalan traditions, which include 'fire runs' and dancing 'giants', it's arguably the human towers that have the most impact on those watching them. To enjoy a true festival of these castells, head to Vilafranca de Penedès for its annual festa major, from the 29th August to the 2nd September, which commemorates the town's patron Sant Fèlix.
The casteller groups that have more participated in the San Félix Day, August 30, have been els Xiquets de Valls (currently, the Colla Vella and the Colla Joves), the Castellers de Vilafranca and the Minyons de Terrassa. Even so, also has participated els Nens del Vendrell, Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, els Xicots de Vilafranca, among others. Each human tower is an exemplary example of team work, from the crowd forming the supporting pinya at the bottom via the columns formed as each level rises and culminating with the youngest members of the crew scampering right to the very top to crown the construction, which is officially completed once the smallest of all (l'enxaneta) raises his or her hand. Cue thunderous applause.
The festival of the Gràcia district is one of the most celebrated festivals during August in Barcelona. It is a popular festival that lasts for several days, with a wide range of activities, such as concerts, workshops and shows. The highlight of the festival is the traditional competition when streets are decorated and compete to achieve first place.
Besides the decorated streets, at the squares you have the option to hear live music, dance and taste typical gastronomy of the city.
The best in current electronic music and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is showcased, once more at the Platja del Fòrum and the Parc de la Pau in Barcelona, at this year's Barcelona Beach Festival 2021. Each year, this festival gains in reputation as the greatest contemporary dance music extravaganza, with line-ups that bring together the very best Spanish and international DJs. In an incomparable setting with the beach as a backdrop, and nearly 14 hours of uninterrupted music, the BBF has established itself as the best one-day electronic music festival in Spain.
The European Balloon Festival in Igualada is the biggest gathering of hot air balloons in Spain and welcomes around 25,000 visitors over four days the first fortnight of July. It's a meeting point, a competition and a festival in one, with more than 50 balloons taking to the air. Competitive flights take place early in the morning and at dusk, when conditions are ideal, and if you want a taste of the high life, balloon rides can be booked in advance. Fly among a mass of Balloons from several counties of the world.
But there's plenty to enjoy from ground level, whether it's the different skill challenges in the competition, live music, kids' activities and workshops, or the magical Night Glow event, in which balloons are fired up but don't take off, glowing like lanterns and accompanied by a fireworks display.
This sporting event with three disciplines is undoubtedly on the rise; it currently forms part of the Olympic and Paralympic games, and athletes such as the British Brownlee brothers have increased the audience for this challenge combining swimming, cycling and running. It is also becoming a trend among amateurs who are looking for a more varied exercise that provides more than just one single sport. It is no surprise that the Barcelona Triathlon attracts thousands of people to its waterfront every year.
With three distances available, participants can choose between supersprint, sprint and olympic, taking part as individuals, in couples (both should finish the race together) or as a relay team (with two of more members sharing the effort).
This is one of the most keenly anticipated and widely celebrated Catalan public holidays. According to the traditional tale, Sant Jordi (Saint George) killed the dragon that used to live in Montblanc where it terrorized the local population, thus saving the king's daughter from certain death. Legend has it that a beautiful rose bush sprang up in the spot where the dragon's blood was spilled. From the 18th century onward, the Sant Jordi festival became widely identified as a Catalan 'fiesta' which these days arouses great popular, civic and cultural passion. On Sant Jordi's Day, lovers exchange a rose and a book and every town and city in Catalonia is filled with stalls set up to sell both. The center of Barcelona becomes just one big open-air bookshop where you can find everything from the latest publications to renowned writers signing copies of their work. It is a day to be out and about wandering the streets of the region's towns and cities.
Pride BCN has been celebrated in Barcelona every year since 2008; a whole week during which the city reconfirms its commitment to the LGTBI community and highlights the struggle for rights and freedoms for all. Concerts, marches, trade shows, and many more activities aimed at the widest range of audiences, including families, flood the streets of Barcelona.
The Patum de Berga is a truly ancient traditional festival. It is cultural phenomenon that grew out of the theatrical performances that used to accompany the Corpus Christi processions in the Middle Ages. The event is focused on fire, music and a series of symbolic characters. These days, the Patum is as vibrant as ever; to the point it has been declared an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. A small square in Berga, not far from Barcelona, concentrates all of the the energy, passion and magic of an unmissable festival.
In its 42nd edition, this race has become one of the most well-known marathons in Europe. The Zurich Marathon in Barcelona is a huge city festival where runners from around the world come and enjoy this fantastic long-distance race. They are backed by the good weather and more than 42 km of city circuit which winds through the most emblematic parts of the city.
The origins of the Fiestas of Santa Eulàlia are rooted in the legend of Barcelona's second patron saint and are a focal point for the city's main winter celebrations. The festivity take place the 12th February over a weekend full of activities rooted in popular culture and traditions, with a children's audience very much in mind: giants, the correfoc (groups of 'demons' letting off fireworks in the streets), human tower builders and also folkloric dance groups, the 'colles bastoneres'.
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