The Devil’s Run and Bonfire Feast in Barcelona

Our recent cultural experience of the Catalan community was an exchange with Majorcan culture in Barcelona’s Gràcia district. The three-day festival, celebrated every year at the end of January livens up the neighborhood. Called La Festa dels Foguerons de Sa Pobla a La Gràcia in Catalan, it translates to the “feast of the bonfires in Sa Pobla to Gràcia.” Stemmed from the Festival of Sant Antoni, the patron saint of the animals, it’s a two-day celebration in Majorca, honoring the saint’s triumph over the devil’s temptation. The festivities crossed over to Gràcia because of one father from Sa Pobla, a small town on the island of Majorca. His sons studied in Barcelona, and he didn’t want them to miss out on the tradition, so he brought over the first part of the triumph. Since 1992, the celebration stuck around.

The Three-Day Celebration in Gràcia

The festivities began on Thursday, spilling over to Friday with an exchange of Majorcan food: pork sausage and olive oil biscuits. Saturday was when the real party started. After nightfall, bagpipers created music that reminded us of our time in Edinburgh. When that died down, bonfires blazed the streets, and people roasted sausages. Shortly after, a massive costumed devil rushed through the streets of Gràcia, passing by our place and onto the next, setting fireworks off that would have broken many violations in the States. Mobs of people stood around and watched the devil perform within arm’s reach, as the loud boom and crackling of fireworks caused us to plug up our ears.

A fascinating, fun, and entertaining cultural experience we witnessed, we would recommend anyone visiting Barcelona at the end of January to join in!

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