As I mentioned in the previous post, celebrating the heritage of wherever you live is a huge deal here in Cataluña (I've reverted back to using the Spanish spelling as it rolls off my fingertips better). Much time, energy and money goes into these annual festivities. Often they go on for an entire week, and the residents of each town, city or neighborhood take great pride in the parties they throw. A couple weeks ago, I attended my second of these events.
Gracia, pronounced just like the Spanish word for "thank you" without the S is a "barrio" in the north-central part of Barcelona that is known for its bohemian/alternative lifestyle. The streets are narrow and winding, reminiscent of the Gothic quarter, but with a less touristic vibe. I'd dabbled in its vicinity when I was in Barcelona three years ago, as I lived just a few blocks south, but this was the first time I saw it in its true glory.
The evening started with a trip to a plant nursery where David's friend Tommy, from the Czech Republic, works. This is where we acquired the first plants we bought for our terrace. It was he that invited us to the festival in Gracia, as he's a resident. We obtained a beautiful new palm with a super "discount" and headed back to our place to drop off the plant and have some margaritas.
When we arrived to Gracia, the party was already in full swing. Have you ever had that feeling when you arrive at a party and you instantly notice that everyone around you is well in to their fifth or sixth drink (or more often in this case: joint) while you are pretty much sober? Well, this was kind of like that, except the crowd of intoxicated partygoers trickled down each street as far as the eye could see. Walking from one intersection to the next can take up to 15 minutes when you have to pry through a tightly-packed, dancing crowd. Eventually we found some blocks that were less crowded, the ones in which the band had already cleared out. Yes, nearly every block had its own live music. It was intense.
In addition to a band, each prominent block had a theme. Every year, the sub-communities choose a theme and decorate their street accordingly. The makeovers are judged early in the week before the non-stop partying has a chance to do any damage. Various prizes are awarded and for the rest of the week, winners get to display these awards at their entrances. The whole concept of this blew my mind! How original! How sweet!
Street of Terror
A winner of multiple prizes including Use of Recycled Materials, "Life".
The wood crates are self-supporting, nailed together to create a faux forest.
It's hard to add more whimsy to this neighborhood, but they've managed.
I don't even remember what this one was all about.
My favorite theme: Extinction with Grace
If you are ever in Barcelona in late August, this definitely a sight to behold. I'm continuously perplexed and awed by the creativity and passion that go in to the celebrations here in Spain. It kind of puts the USA's measly festivities to shame! Am I wrong? To me, the only thing that is even close to being on the level of some of the holidays I've already witness here is Halloween, my favorite American tradition by far! What's your favorite holiday? What do you enjoy most about celebrating it?