August 15th, 2013
The Festa Major de Gràcia is an annual street festival in the barrio, where each street competes for the prize of best decoration on a theme chosen by the inhabitants.
The theme and competition is taken very seriously and things get quite competitive.
Standards are high, which makes for a great spectacle.
We’d gone through several streets playing loud music with lots of people dancing and suddenly walked into a street hosting traditional music, with a much older crowd sitting down.
Just past the band was a stall selling Cremat, a Catalan rum drink containing:
1 liter of dark rum
2 or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
a tablespoon of coffee beans
the peel of half a lemon
optionally the rum can be mixed 50 50 with Spanish brandy
To make, the ingredients are heated and lit in a Spanish terracotta cazuela. When the liquid has reduced by about two thirds the drink is ready. Considering some of the alcohol has been burnt off, it tasted very strong!
The festival goes on for a whole week.
During which time, there are shows and concerts on a daily basis.
Most bars and restaurants stay open for the duration,
while groups of men sell cheap cans of beer and bottles of water in the street.
Here an alien invasion is taking place, while a band plays to a packed crowd.
Evidently they’d come from one of these planets.
I noticed a man who looked like a crazy young William Burroughs, sitting outside what I assume is his shop, Atelier Robert. When I went over to take a picture he got up and started to dance.
These cacti led to a street
of beautiful umbrellas, hanging from above.
It’s worth noting, that unlike Britain, there was not a single person rolling around in the gutter and the police keep a very low profile.
Next up was an unusual farm.
The farmer chokes his chicken,
while a scarecrow keeps the other birds away.
By about 2.30 am, we were all exhausted, but the final street we passed before heading downhill, was packed with people dancing to a DJ con mucha marcha.
I hadn’t been to the Fiesta de Gràcia since 1992, but as you can see it’s very much full of life!