The 10 most outstanding popular culture events at Hostafrancs’ big annual festival

The annual festival known as the festa major d’Hostafrancs is one of the neighbourhood’s most important social and cultural events. It is a time for everyone in the local social network to come together. The festa is organised by the Festa Major commission, which includes the Sants-Montjuïc district, the local federation FAECH and many participating entities. It is held from September 29 to October 8. This festa major is more than 150 years old and it kicks off with the arrival of Àngel Custodi, the neighbourhood’s patron saint. It boasts a long list of traditional activities along with some newer additions, making its programme varied enough to have something for everyone.

Festival’s opening speech. The festivities get under way on Friday evening with the opening speech. This year it will be delivered by the Professor of Didactics and Social Sciences at the University of Barcelona María Mercedes Tatjer Mir. Friday September 29 at 8.00pm at the Sants-Montjuïc district office.

Blessing and the pomegranate market. The golden attraction of Hostafrancs’ festa major is a pomegranate and chestnut market held at the beginning of October to celebrate the arrival of Autumn. This is why the pomegranate plays a key role in the festa. Sunday October 1 from 9.45am at Carrer de Vilardell.

Giants street parade. Since Hostafrancs doesn’t have its own collection of giant figures, for a long time it has been keeping up the unofficial tradition of inviting the festival group at the Santa Maria del Pi basilica to organise the parade. Sunday October 1 from 11.00am at Carrer de Vilardell.

Offering to Saint Àngel Custodi. The other protagonist of the festa major is the figure of Saint Àngel Custodi, who could originally be found on the street in the old town Portal de l’Àngel. After the city walls were demolished in the 19th century, his image was moved to Hostafrancs which in turn inherited the saint’s popular cult. Sunday October 1 at 12.00pm at the Sant Àngel Custodi parish.

Sardanes. Traditional folk dancing to music from the Onze de Setembre orchestra. Sunday October 1 from 1.00pm at Carrer de Vilardell.

Habaneres. With singers from the Montjuïc group followed by burnt rum and a raffle. Sunday October 1 at 7.00pm at Carrer de Vilardell.

Debates and walking routes. The festa major is a space for discussion, debate and sharing ideas. This is why many stimulating activities can be found in the programme. On Tuesday October 3 there will be a debate at the district office about two different festa major models: the classic and alternative. On Wednesday October 4 there will be a historical guided tour of the neighbourhood.

Medieval market. During the second weekend, the neighbourhood will go back in time with a medieval market offering shows, stalls and kids’ activities. Held all day on Saturday and Sunday September 7 and 8 at Carrer de la Creu Coberta.

Ball de Rams. For 23 years the Hostafrancs festa major has had its very own lively ball. It is called the “Ball de Rams” or Bouquet Ball because the dancers carry flowers. The dancers from the Ciutat Comtal folk dance group lead the way but this is a ball for everyone to join. Saturday September 7 at 8.30pm at Plaça de Gardunya.

‘Melting pot’. The documentary Melting Pot made by the Sants “castellers” group will be shown. It is the story of their cultural exchange with the Indian ‘govines’, a group that also builds human towers. There will be a discussion with some group members after the film. Saturday October 7 at 10.00pm at Zumzeig Cine Cooperativa, Carrer de Béjar, 53.