Another year (which makes 202) and another Festa Major is here to fill Villa de Gràcia’s streets and squares. This year, three more streets are joining in the festival, making 24 decorated spaces in all.
Aside from the decorated streets and squares, the festival includes a host of outstanding events that will fill the old town from 14 to 21 August with festive figures, music and folk groups. The stand-out day is 15 August, the feast day of the local patron saint, the Mare de Déu d’Agost (August Virgin), with a series of events that follow a well-defined ritual set out in the Vila de Gràcia festival protocol.
Below we offer you the programme of the festival highlights:
Wednesday 14 August
La Passada cap al pregó A new feature this year is that the local politicians and festival speech givers will set off for Plaça de la Vila from the Festa Major de Gràcia Foundation This procession will also include the Gràcia eagle Àliga de Gràcia and giants Gegants de Gràcia. At 5.30 pm from the head office of the Festa Major de Gràcia Foundation (Carrer de l’Alzina, 9).
Toc d’Inici. Gràcia folk group musicians will invite everyone to attend the opening speech of the festival in Plaça de la Vila. At 6 pm from La Violeta (Carrer de Maspons, 6)
Tabals i gralles d’inici de festa. Following the “Toc d’Inici”, the drummers and gralla players from the folk groups will brighten up the square with the theme tune of the Gràcia groups, “Timbgrallers”. At 6.15 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Pregó The festival begins and this year the honour of proclaiming it open will fall to members of the ACIDH basketball team . Paola Manjón, Cristina Pandis, Noèlia Bautista and Xènia Galtés, medallists at this year’s Special Olympic Games will utter the words: “Visca Gràcia i visca la Festa Major!” (Long live Gràcia and long live the Festival). At 7 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Ball d’honor a les pregoneres. Another new feature this year will be the dance of the Vila Eagle and Giants in honour of the four pregoneres after their pregó (opening speech). At 7.30 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Assaig casteller. The castellers de la Vila de Gràcia will offer a public rehearsal (assaig as they prepare their performances for the coming days. At 8 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Thursday 15 August, Diada de la Mare de Déu d’Agost
Traca. Exploding fireworks at 8 am in Plaça de la Vila and Carrer de Maspons, at 8.15 am in Carrer del Perill, and at 9 am in Carrer de Joan Blanques and Carrer de Ciudad Real. At 11 am in Plaça del Nord.
Morning call from gralla players and drummers. At 8 am in Plaça Nova.
Seguici d’autoritats. The local politicians and their retinue will leave the district offices and make their way to the festival mass in Santa Maria de Gràcia. Taking part will be Guàrdia Urbana police officers in dress uniform, the big-headed dwarfsCapgrossos, the giantsGegantons, the dragons (this is the only time of the year when you can see the Old and the New dragons), Atzeries de la Vella, Gaudiamus del Coll and the Eagle, accompanied by local residents. At 10.30 am from Plaça de la Vila.
Festa Major Mass: This has been held since the start of the 19th century and is the core of the festival. It includes a performance by the giants, who offer the Branch of Freedom to the Virgin. When Mass finishes, the castellers will build a human pillar, the trabucaires will fire off three rounds from their blunderbusses and the bastoners will do their stick dance of honour. At 11 am in the parish church of Santa Maria de Gràcia.
Festival morning. At 12.30 pm, the local politicians’ retinue heads back to Plaça de la Vila for the firework of “light-up” display of the folk groups.
Cercavila de cultura popular. A musical parade with all the local folk groups and their guests, such as the Gegants del Casco Antinguo (Old Quarter Giants) from Pamplona At 6 pm from Carrer Gran de Gràcia (junction with Carrer Santa Àgata) ending in Plaça de la Vila with the static firework displays.
Friday, 16 August, the feast day of Sant Roc
Cercavila de Sant Roc. Musical parade of folk groups assembles to make its way to Carrer de la Llibertat (corner with Carrer de la Fraternitat) to offer flowers to the statue of Sant Roc, At 10.30 am from Plaça de la Vila.
Taller de ball de bastons. A workshop where the Bastoners de Gràcia teach people to stick dance. At 12 pm in Carrer de la Fraternitat.
Pilar caminat. The Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia will build this traditional pillar which is “walked” from Plaça del Sol to Plaça de la Vila. At 8 pm from Plaça del Sol.
Diada Castellera de Vigílies. The local human tower builders have invited the youth group Jove de Castellers from Sitge to the first of the festival human tower days. At 8.15 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Saturday, 17 August
Display of ‘glosa’ poetry. At 12 pm in Carrer de la Perla.
Decorated streets and squares prize presentation. The prizes will be announced for the decorated streets and square, as well as balconies and doorways. At 5 pm in Plaça de la Vila
2nd ‘glosa’ combat. Sung poetry competition. At 5 pm in Carrer de la Perla.
Diada castellera. With the Joves Xiquets de Valls, Xiquets de Reus, Castellers de Vilafranca de Penedès and Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia. At 7 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Sunday 18 August
La Convidada dels Gegants. The Gràcia giants are inviting the Carrer de Viserta, Monistrol de Montserrat giants (from 1913) to walk round the old town streets of Vila de Gràcia. They will set off from Plaça de la Vila, at 9.30 am, to pick up their guests in Jardinets de Gràcia. Firework display in Plaça de la Vila at 11 am and after the cercavila.
Monday 19 August
Habanera singing. Led by the group Pirats del Mar and accompanied with rom cremat , burn rum. At 6 pm in Plaça de Rovira i Trias
Tuesday 20 August
Cercavila led by the Festival Foundation giants. Torradet and Gresca come out to dance round the decorated streets. At 10 am from Plaça de la Vila.
Habanera singing. Led by the group Pirats del Mar and accompanied with rom cremat , burn rum. At 7 pm in Carrer del Progrés
Habanera singing. Led by the group A Tota Vela and accompanied with rom cremat , burn rum. At 8 pm in Carrer del Perill.
Habanera singing. Led by the group Mar Endins. At 5 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Wednesday 21 August
Sardana dancing. With music by the cobla (dance band) Rambla. At 6 pm in Plaça de Rovira i Trias
Toca dormir. Cercavila to round off the giant activities with the Gegants and Gegantons de Gràcia. At 6 pm from Plaça de la Virreina, ending in Plaça de la Vila.
Sardana dancing. With music performed by the cobla Ciutat de Cornellà. At 6.30 pm in Carrer del Verdi.
Tabalada. Drum warm-up for the adult and children’s correfocs or fire runs. At 8 pm from Plaça de la Trilla.
Versots infernals. The adult and young devils will present their traditional devilish verses! At 9 pm in Plaça de la Vila
Habanera singing. Led by the group Mar Endins. At 9 pm in Carrer de la Fraternitat.
Children’s Fire Run. Fireworks in Plaça de la Vila and start of the Children’s Fire Run with Malsons de la Vella, the Ball de Diables infantil de Reus, the Escuats de la Malèfica del Coll and the children’s group of the Diables de Sant Joan Despí. At 10 pm from Plaça de la Vila.
Fire run. Involving all the adult and children’s groups from Vila de Gràcia and their guests. At 10.45 pm from Plaça de la Vila. When it finishes, at about 00.30 pm, the groups will light up in Plaça de la Vila.
Traca fi de festa. To bid the festival farewell, various streets organise a traca – strings of fireworks that explode one after the other. At 1.50 pm in Carrer de Ciudad Real and at 2 pm in Carrer del Perill, Carrer de Maspons and Carrer de Joan Blanques.