La Mercè is the festival (festa major) of the city of Barcelona, taking place in September every year. It celebrates the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (La Mare de Déu de la Mercè) which is on 24th September and the celebrations last one week. It has been an official public holiday since 1871 but most of the festivities we recognize today were added in 1902. La Mercè is, alongside Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of the city of Barcelona after she was called upon to help deliver the city from a plague of insects in 1687 and her feast day has been celebrated ever since. For many the festival of La Mercè marks an end to summer, but it certainly goes out with a bang. Festivities include traditional activities such as the castellers (human towers), correfoc (fire run) dancing la sardana and the parade of gegants (giant papier maîché figures). In recent years many other activities have been added to the programme such as the BAM music festival with stages all around the city, the circus festival usually held on Montjuïc, the Catalan wine tasting now held at Arc de Triomf, fireworks on Barceloneta beach and the popular La Mercè 10km run.The atmosphere is one of celebration and making the most of the last days of summer. Have fun!