Celebrations

Valentine’s Day in Barcelona 2018

Barcelona is definitely well known for its astonishing architecture, beautiful Mediterranean beaches and delectable dining, so what better place to spend your Valentine’s Day this year than in Gaudí’s city? Whether you seek a romantic escape in a quiet and cozy area of Barcelona, or you are just looking for somewhere different to spend your Valentine’s weekend, the Catalan capital has something sure to cater to every couple.

 

  • Picturesque Park Güell: This colorful Gaudí park is the ultimate backdrop for the perfect Valentine’s experience! From here you can enjoy astonishing views of Barcelona as you soak in the greatness of this revered Catalan architect. With plenty of places to have a picnic around the park, why not surprise your other half with a romantic lunch for two overlooking the city?
  • Breathtaking Barceloneta Beach: However cliché it may seem to some, sometimes a simple walk along the beach with your partner can be equally as romantic as an intimate dinner. Amble along the famous Passeig de Colom, then take a stroll through the picturesque port and finally end with a walk along Barceloneta beach. You could even stop for a drink at one of the fantastic seaside bars along the promenade.
  • Time-Old Tibidabo: Get transported into a whole other world atop this magical mountain, which is home to the oldest amusement park in Spain. Mount Tibidabo also offers numerous hiking trails, as well as some great bars with amazing views of the city, like Mirabé at Manuel Arnús, 2!
  • A Romanesque Romance: Looking to do something truly memorable? Surprise your loved one with a magical day trip to Tarragona, and lose yourself amidst Roman ruins, ancient aqueducts and medieval buildings, all just an hour outside Barcelona. Don’t miss your chance to stroll down the winding streets lined with brightly colored orange trees, and be sure to top off this romantic outing by watching the sunset from the ‘Mediterranean Balcony’ lookout point.
  • The Cherry on Top of a Lovely EveningWhy not complete your evening with some of the finest wine around? Become a wine connoisseur for the evening at one of Barcelona’s top wine bars – truly an unforgettable experience. If sampling wine isn’t really your thing, why not take your partner to a traditional Spanish Flamenco show at Tablao Cordobes? Sure to get your heart racing…

     

     

 

Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos

Descripción

La noche del 5 de enero, la ciudad organiza un gran recibimiento a los Reyes de Oriente, con un gran desfile por las calles de la ciudad, acompañados de un gran séquito de pajes, de carrozas y de comparsas de compañías artísticas, de danzantes, carteros y otros grupos provenientes de entidades y organizaciones que quieran participar.

Desde los años sesenta del siglo XX, los Reyes llegan a Barcelona por mar y son recibidos a pie del barco por el alcalde, quien les entrega las llaves de la ciudad para que puedan abrir, solo durante una noche, las puertas de todas las casas de Barcelona.

Esa noche los niños y niñas de todo el país esperan con ilusión las cabalgatas, que se organizan en todas las poblaciones, y desean que sus majestades no se olviden de pasar por su casa y dejar el regalo que les han pedido.

Motivo

La fiesta de Reyes se celebra el día 6 de enero, fecha en la que se cree que unos sabios astrólogos venidos de Oriente llegaron a Belén para adorar al niño Jesús y le hicieron las ofrendas de oro, incienso y mirra. Es por eso por lo que todavía hoy el componente principal de la celebración es el regalo.

No fue hasta el siglo VII cuando los Reyes empezaron a ser tres -Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar- y con una procedencia definida: Europa, Asia y África, los tres continentes conocidos. Algunas interpretaciones medievales también los dibujaban como los tres estados del hombre: sabiduría, madurez y juventud.

Orígenes

Las primeras representaciones de los tres Reyes en Barcelona las encontramos en las procesiones de Corpus del siglo XIV, formando parte de las representaciones que hacían referencia a la epifanía. Ahora bien, las primeras cabalgatas son de finales del siglo XVIII y se hicieron de manera intermitente hasta principios del XX.

Durante el primer tercio del siglo pasado la cabalgata se organizaba con finalidades benéficas y tuvo épocas mejores y peores hasta la guerra de 1936-1939, cuando se interrumpió. En 1942 se retomó por iniciativa del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona y desde entonces no se ha dejado de organizar. Año tras año, se fue perfilando la Cabalgata que tenemos hoy, con unas características y unos personajes que la hacen única.

El evento empieza a las 16.30 horas, en el Moll de la Fusta. Sus Majestades llegarán con el pailebot Santa Eulàlia en compañía de todos sus ayudantes.
Después de la tradicional ceremonia de recibimiento de Sus Ilustres Majestades de Oriente, a partir de las 18h recorrerán varias calles de la ciudad; avenida Marqués de la Argentera, Pla de Palau, paseo Isabel II, Via Laietana, plaza Urquinaona, Fontanella, plaza Catalunya, Pelai, plaza Universitat, ronda Sant Antoni, Sepúlveda, avenida Paral·lel, plaza España hasta llegar aproximadamente hacia las 21 horas en la avenida Reina María Cristina.

The 12 Lucky Grapes: A New Year’s Eve Tradition in Spain

Those of you who have been lucky enough to celebrate New Year’s Eve here in Spain will be familiar with the tradition of eating 12 ‘lucky’grapes as the clock strikes midnight. If you haven’t the faintest idea what we are talking about, be sure to read on as we explain where this bizarre tradition originated and what it actually entails.

Although many believe the tradition of eating the 12 lucky grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve originated in 1909 due to a bumper crop of white grapes in the Almeria, Murcia and Alicante regions, it appears that this might not be entirely correct.

Yes, wine growers in these regions did have a surplus of stock that particular year and were certainly instrumental in popularising the tradition of eating grapes at New Year, however, there are reports that date the tradition way back to the late 1800’s.

During those times, families who were well off would often eat grapes and drink champagne to celebrate the New Year. In an effort to ridicule this ‘snobby’ tradition, a group of working class ‘madrileños’ gathered at the Spanish capital’s Puerta del Sol square to eat their grapes and sip their champagne; this is what led to the celebrations we now witness every year.

Thousands of people meet at the Puerta del Sol (equivalent of Times Square in New York or Trafalgar Square in London) to see in the New Year, singing, dancing and, of course, stuffing their 12 grapes in their mouths whilst downing their glasses (or bottles) of bubbly!

For those not living in Madrid, you’ll find that most towns and cities have similar celebrations in their main squares. If you’re in Benalmádena over the holidays, you can head up to Plaza de la Mezquita in Arroyo de la Miel and see in the New Year with thousands of other visitors and locals.

If you’re not into celebrating with the masses and prefer to avoid the madness of these celebrations, another popular option is to just stay at home with friends and loved ones and watch the live broadcast of the event on TV. But make sure you don’t forget your lucky grapes!

According to tradition, it is believed that whoever eats their 12 grapes as the bells chime (one for each of the twelve chimes) will have a lucky and prosperous year 🙂 A quick word of advice: Although it may seem an easy task – after all it is only twelve grapes – getting them all in your mouth before the bells stop chiming is actually quite hard. To improve your chances of success, make sure you choose small grapes!

Another quick bit of advice: Make sure you start to eat the grapes when the official chimes start. Many people get confused as there are four other double chimes just before the clock strikes twelve.

Here’s the whole sequence so that there are no mix ups:

1) 35 seconds before midnight a ball at the top of the Puerto del Sol clock tower starts to fall towards the main bell.

2) Once it gets to the bottom you will hear four double chimes (Many make the mistake of starting to eat the grapes at this point but you have to wait…)

3) As the clock strikes twelve you will start to hear the 12 chimes – one approximately every 3 seconds – now is the time to start eating your grapes!

Remember the idea is to eat one grape with each chime… good luck!

Things to do in Barcelona for Christmas

Christmas is special everywhere because each place on earth has its special traditions. Barcelona is not an exception. Shopping and delicious warm meals can wait but these things to do in Barcelona for Christmas only happen once a year!
El Pessebre
Many Mediterranean countries have lovely alternatives for the Christmas tree: el pessebre, a model of the nativity with all kinds of figures. So one of the things to do in Barcelona for Christmas is visit local pessebres or make one of your own.
The most iconic one is the one the city council places at Plaça Sant Jaume, in the Gothic Neighbourhood. Obviously it’s bigger than the average one you can see in many Spanish homes, but for Barcelonians, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.
Not far away from Plaça Sant Jaume, in front of the Cathedral, there’s the Fira de Santa Llúcia where you can buy everything you need to build your own pessebre, from moss to figures to amazing decoration. Kids would love something from here as a souvenir. It starts on Santa Llúcia day, on the 13th of December.

The Poo Log
People always get surprised about this but Christmas in Barcelona and Catalonia can get very scatological. Brace yourself and have fun, because this was the tradition I enjoyed the most as a child. One of the things to do in Barcelona for Christmas is… cagar el tió (or “to shit the log”). Let me explain. Every home owns a Tió or el Tronc, that has the facility of giving (by expulsing through the back door) your presents and sweet things if you kick it strong enough with a stick on Christmas Eve. During this ritual you must sing a certain song and the tradition says you’ve got to feed it during the previous days so it can “poo” better presents. Some foreigners see this as a tradition that teaches children to be violent, we see a lesson for a very tough life… And the funniest way possible to get presents!

El Caganer
The Tió is not the only scatological tradition we have for Christmas. Among the things to do in Barcelona for Christmas, there’s buying a caganer (a poo man), which I’m sure is one of our most surprising and funny souvenirs. You can get one easily at Fira de Santa Llúcia because in every pessebre there must be a caganer. The legend says that this man was a shepherd that went to adore Jesus at Bethlehem but… had a little urgency on the road.

For us it’s a way to keep Christmas fun and the idea has grown until the point that caganers are for Catalans what The Simpsons are for pop culture… you are not famous if you don’t appear as one!

As you see, there are lots of things to do in Barcelona for Christmas. If you visit us, you’ll be amazed because the city will offer you a really different face: more traditions, fun stories and well, yes, obviously, a shopping paradise.

La Castañada

En Barcelona y prácticamente en toda Cataluña se celebra La Castañada (Castanyada), una fiesta tradicional que tiene lugar la noche del 31 de Octubre, previa al día de Todos Los Santos. Se realizan numerosas fiestas populares y también actividades lúdicas el para que los más pequeños celebren Halloween y la Castañada. Uno de los lugares donde se hacen talleres centrados en estas temáticas y se vive más intensamente la fiesta es en el Poble Espanyol, Barcelona.

La Castanyada se celebra tradicionalmente el día 1 de Noviembre, pero últimamente se ha ido desplazado la celebración a la vigilia de esta fiesta, a la noche del 31 de Octubre. Así que en la cena, a la hora del postre, se come la castanyada, acompaña de un poco de vino dulce (Moscatel). La castaña es la gran protagonista ya que que representa al otoño. Gastronómicamente la Castanyada consiste en una serie de productos: castañas, boniatos, fruta confitada, y sobre todo los “panellets”. Los Panellets son unos pasteles pequeños, redondos y muy dulces. El principal ingrediente es el azúcar y tiene muchas variantes: el de almendras molidas, el de piñones (el más típico), pero también los hay de coco, limón e incluso de chocolate.

Curiosidad: Los panellets tienen su origen en el siglo XVIII, cuando se usaban como comida bendecida para degustar tras las celebraciones religiosas: los Panellets de San Marcos y los Panellets de la Santa Cruz. Durante la noche del Todos los Santos se tocaban campanadas a muertos sin cesar hasta el amanecer. La gente ayudaba a los campaneros a realizar esta dura tarea, y para no fatigarse consumían estos alimentos altamente energéticos… la Castanyada.

Saint John’s Eve

Have you ever heard of “San Juan” or Saint John’s Eve? It is a festival of pagan origin that is celebrated on June 23: it is the eve of the day of San Juan Bautista, in which are often lit bonfires or fires. The origin of this custom is associated with celebrations celebrating the arrival of the summer solstice, June 21 in the northern hemisphere, whose main ritual is to light a bonfire. The purpose of this rite was to “give more strength to the sun”, which from those days was becoming “weak” – the days are getting shorter until the winter solstice. Symbolically, the fire also has a “purifying” function in the people who contemplated it. It is not only celebrated in Spain but also in many parts of Europe, such as Portugal (Jonsok), Denmark (Sankthans), Sweden (Midsommar), Finland (Juhannus), Estonia (Jaanipäev) and Kingdom United Kingdom (Midsummer). Hostal fontanella offers you the best rooms to enjoy this holiday in one of the best cities in the world: Barcelona.

The Christian feast of Saint John is celebrated on June 24, six months before the eve of Jesus’ birth, which is December 24. These six months are the difference that the Gospels indicate between the two births. However, three days apart from both dates with both solstices makes it unreasonable to assign this feast to the solstice, and scholars are inclined to the fact that December 25, the birth of Jesus, is most reasonably associated with the celebration Jewish Hanukkah or dedication of the Temple (Jesus was the new Temple for Christians). According to this reasoning, the feast of St. John would have nothing to do with the pagan celebrations of the summer solstice. A difference of 3 days is too much scope for astronomical knowledge of any time we consider. In Latin America, in northeastern Argentina, Brazil (has Festas Juninas), Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, the night of San Juan is also related to ancient traditions and Spanish legends like the Legend Of the Encantada.

In many places there is no doubt that the present celebrations have a direct connection with the celebrations of antiquity linked to the summer solstice, influenced by pre-Christian rites or simply linked to the cycles of nature. However, in other places (eg Spain and Portugal) the existence of a link between the summer solstice celebrations (in the northern hemisphere) that takes place on 20-21 June and the celebrations of St. John’s Day ( June 24) vary according to dates, discontinuity in the celebration, traditions and customs, etc. In spite of this, there are common elements, such as the making of bonfires in the streets and squares of towns where family and friends meet.

La Mercè 2015

Welcome to all who come to live and enjoy our holiday in Barcelona, La Merce 2015 !!!! …

Barcelona live these days his festival, when the soul of the city is more evident and shows its essence to visitors. But what is the secret of the party?… READ MORE