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Photographer's Note

Once a year, Barcelona lets their devils out to dance & play with sparklers. Perched on stilts, they frolic above the sea of people and mobile video recorders. In the background, you can just make out through the smoke the figure of one of the "gegants i capgrossos," papier maché giants, which are truly huge and tower over the crowd.

This is la Mercè ~ celebrated since the Middle Ages to commemorate Barcelona's victory over a plague of locusts in 1687. To help them in their fight, the citizens of Barcelona asked the Virgin Mary for help and when the city was delivered from the pestilence, she was named patroness of the city of Barcelona (recognized by the Pope in 1868.) And this annual festival has been celebrated in September ever since.

In Catalan, the word mercè has meanings related to service, help, a sense of compassion, and loving mercy. In the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona (where the above dance took place) there is a basilica dedicated to the Virgin, where a wooden image of her is venerated.

If you are thinking of seeing this for yourself, Barcelona's tourist guide warns: "It is highly advisable to take protective clothing because often powerful sparkler fireworks are sprayed into the crowds. People should bring hats, protective glasses and thick long sleeved tops that will protect you from the flying sparklers. If you are of a nervous disposition then maybe you should consider standing well back from the Correfoc (fire runs)."

Consider yourselves warned ;)

[with help from Wikipedia and Lonely Planet]

rigoletto, jcpix, CLODO, adores has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: kristin fellows (KristinsCamera) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 216 W: 9 N: 451] (2373)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-09-20
  • Categories: Festivals
  • Exposure: f/5.0, 1/40 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2014-01-22 5:32
Viewed: 407
Points: 14
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