Fiesta de Sant Medir in Barcelona

February 27, 2012 by

Eating & Restaurants, Festivals & Events, Free Things To Do, Things To Do, Travel Tips, Uniquely Barcelona

Children gather candy from floats during Fiesta de Sant Medir in Barcelona.

Children gather candy from floats during Fiesta de Sant Medir in Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Oh-barcelona.con via Flickr.

Gracia is a barrio (district) of Barcelona that you must not miss. It has a fantastic community spirit and seems to have endless street festivities throughout the year. March 3rd is one of the most fun especially for kids, because it’s all about candy. You’ll almost certainly discover that Sant Medir is in fact the patron saint of the fava bean, known to us as the broad bean – sworn enemy of children everywhere. But here in Gracia they celebrate the saint of this humble bean with a more palatable treat by throwing candies from parade floats.

The traditional began in 1830 when a local baker became ill and made a promise to Sant Medir to make a pilgrimage to his shrine in the Collserola Mountains if he was cured. The baker recovered, made his pilgrimage annually on March 3rd as promised, and added the nice touch of throwing candies to those he passed on his way. This developed into a major community parade along the pilgrimage route with horse drawn carts and festive floats, all laden with candies for those who turn out to watch.

It’s still very much a local festival and firmly based in the Gracia community and its many community clubs or collas. One of the symbols of the festa has become the upturned umbrella – why? Because this is the best way to catch as much candy as you can! Yes, people really do this. Try it, you’ll be amazed how effective it is. The parade begins at 8pm at the intersection of Gran de Gracia and Carrer de Maurizio Serrahima and finishes in the Jardinets de Gracia with fireworks.

 -Phillippa Burne

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