La Merce is a huge event in the Spanish calendar, especially for those living in the city of Barcelona, the perfect place for the Spanish to wear their Vestidos fiesta (party dresses). It’s in celebration of the city’s patron saint (Our Lady of Mercy) and involves free music concerts, street parades, performances and firework displays. This year the festival is taking place from the 21st to the 24th of September — but how should you dress to the biggest party of the year?
The street parades
There is a lot going on in the plazas of Barcelona during La Merce. The Castellers, Giants Show and Projection Show are three of the biggest street events that take place in Placa de Sant Jaume. What should you wear when heading to one of these events?
The building of the human towers is a huge attraction for many. The aim is for people to create a huge human tower and have a small child climb to the top and stand up. It’s certainly spectacular to watch. In the same square (but at a different time) the Giants parade occurs. This is an event for everyone but children especially enjoy witnessing this event. Here, huge ‘giants’ march through the streets accompanied by the sound of music. These events occur during the day and are fairly casual, so pair jeans with a t-shirt to feel cool and comfortable. Avoid layering with jackets and coats, as the square gets packed full of visitors during these spectacles and it can get warm. Wearing trainers and avoiding peep-toe shoes is also recommended to prevent pain if your feet get stood on!
The Projection Show takes place during the evenings of the festival and this is where images are projected onto one of the buildings in the square. It doesn’t get too busy here, as the projection film is repeated throughout the night. Why not take the opportunity to visit before heading out for dinner? As for what to wear, the evenings are starting to get cool this time of year. So, pair your dinner outfit with a light jacket that can be taken off if you decide to head to a club after!
Accompanying La Merce is a music programme that sees a range of artists perform on stages around the city. In 2018, this is set to be a range of concerts that combine the Catalan music scene with rhythms from around the world. From reggae or rock, to rumba or classical, there’s a genre for everyone.
There are stages located in different parts of the city, so make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes — flats or sneakers — with an outfit that keeps you cool when you’re walking around, such as a vest and culottes. There are also some flamenco performances for you to enjoy around Barcelona — why not get into the swing of things with your own flamenco-inspired outfit? Floaty dresses and skirts with cami or off-the-shoulder tops would be perfect for copying the moves on stage.
There are a multiple firework displays during La Merce, but the main one that everyone looks forward to is the Correfoc that takes place on Via Laietana — through the centre of the city. During the Correfoc, a fire-breathing dragon sprays sparklers into the crowd as the ‘Devils’ run alongside it with bangers and hand-held fireworks.
It’s up to you how involved you want to get with the fireworks, but if you’re watching even remotely close-by, you should follow safety precautions when it comes to what to wear. Long sleeve T-shirt, protective glasses and a hat and scarf are recommended if you want to get up close to the action. The sparks from the fireworks can travel far, so even if you’re staying back it’s still a good idea to cover up. Lightweight, zip-up jackets are ideal and a pair of skinny blue or black jeans with plimsolls is great for staying safe and stylish.
As we can see, there is lots going on at La Merce! Wear appropriate clothing for the events that you’re attending, but also remember to dress how you feel confident!