Carnaval (Carnestoltes) arrives in Barcelona in February or early March, just before Lent, a colorful fling that rivals its more flamboyant counterpart in Sitges, down the coast.
Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week before Easter, is Spain’s most important celebration everywhere but Barcelona, as the locals depart in droves for vacations elsewhere.
La Diada de Sant Jordi is Barcelona’s Valentine’s Day, celebrated April 23 with gifts of flowers and books in observance of International Book Day and to honor the 1616 deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.
La Fira de Sant Ponç brings farmers to town for an open-air market in the Raval on May 11. La Verbena de Sant Joan celebrates the summer solstice and Midsummer’s Eve with fireworks and all-night beach parties on the night of June 23.
La Festa Major de Gràcia honors Santa Maria with street dances and concerts in Barcelona’s village-turned-neighborhood, Gràcia, in mid-August.
Festes de La Mercé honors Barcelona’s patron saint, Nostra Senyora de la Mercé, for a week beginning September 24.