BANK HOLIDAYS IN BARCELONA – CALENDAR FOR 2017
Bank Holidays in Barcelona probably differ from those in your country. What’s more, bank holidays in Catalonia may differ from those in other Autonomous Communities, because aside from nation-wide bank holidays there are also a few specific for each region or even city.
Second Easter and other holidays
What was most surprising for me, was that those local holidays can change dates each year. Each municipality is entitled to two holidays a year of their choosing. In the Catalan capital those usually are the Segunda Pascua (“Second Easter“, called also Pascua Granada or Lunes de Pentecostés) and the day of the Mercè (September 24).
Now, in 2016, May 1st fell on Sunday, so Generalitat de Catalunya decided that Segunda Pascua will be a bank holiday in the whole Catalonia in 2016. This way this year, 2016, we had an unusual day off on February 12th – the day of Santa Eulàlia, because Barcelona had one more holiday left to choose. Interesting, isn’t it?
This is why it’s good to have a calendar with all bank holidays in Barcelona for each year. This way you can plan ahead all the long weekends. Below you will find the calendar for 2017 with all the bank holidays in Barcelona. And then an explanation to some of them along with a short description of the tradition.
Work calendar for 2017 in Catalonia will have 15 holidays
There will be 13 general holidays and two local ones.
Bank Holidays in Barcelona, 2017
- JAN 1st – Año Nuevo – New Year
- JAN 6th – Epifanía del Señor – Epiphany
Commonly known as Reyes Magos, The Magi. In Spain it’s the Three Wise Man who bring presents to children, not Santa Claus. La Cabalgata de Reyes, The Cavalcade of Magi, is held in all Spanish cities, and some Mexican, the evening of January 5th. The Three Kings parade through the streets of the towns throwing candy to the children, representing the path traveled in their day to Bethlehem. King’s gifts – on the morning of Jan. 6th, Three Kings come to the homes of the children to leave their gifts, just as they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. According to the tradition, gifts are only brought to well-behaved kids. All the naughty ones get coal instead.
- APR 14th – Viernes Santo – Good Friday – Various processions are held and the Creed is recited at 3 in the afternoon to remember the time of the crucifixion.
- APR 17th – Lunes de Pascua – Easter Monday
In Spain, it is common to celebrate this day with Las monas, typical sweets that vary considerably depending on the region. In Catalonia, las monas are often real works of art made from chocolate. They take all shapes and sizes, you will find a chocolate Camp Nou, a high-heeled shoe or whatever you can imagine. The tradition is that the godparents give las monas to their godchildren on Easter Monday.
- MAY 1st – Fiesta del Trabajo – Labour Day
- JUN 5th – Segunda Pascua – Second Easter – this is called also Lunes de pentecostés and it is a religious celebration commemorating the coming of the Holy Spirit. Its date depends on the Easter, as the Spirit was sent 50 days after the resurrection of Christ – this is why it’s date changes each year.
- JUN 24th – San Juan – Saint John – On the Night of San Juan, the summer solstice, the birth of John the Baptist is celebrated according to the Bible. Zechariah commanded a fire to announce his birth, which is why every year a bonfire is lit on the beach. People gather on Marbella or any other beach in Barcelona and celebrate with food, drinks, and fireworks. Pop-up stores with fireworks and firecrackers appear all over the city. Kids love this day as they are allowed to play with firecrackers and make lots of noise.
- AUG 15th – Asunción de la Virgen – The Assumption of Mary
- SEPT 11th – Diada – Day of Catalonia
In 1714, Barcelona lost to the Bourbon troops during the War of Spanish Succession. In 1980 the Parliament of Catalonia was established and proclaimed September 11th as a National Day of Catalonia. 1714 is an important number, this is why during the match of FC Barcelona when the clock hits 17:14 at the Camp Nou, people shout “Independencia” and wave Catalonian flags.
- SEPT 24th – Día de la Mercè
Every year in the end of September it’s always a good idea to visit Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia holds its largest street party. For around 5 days a festival is held in honor of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, she’s the Patron Saint of Barcelona. The program of the festival is always interesting. The streets are filled with events, parades, running with fire, called Correfoc, and, of course, a lot of people!
- OCT 12th – Fiesta Nacional de España – Columbus Day
The celebration has its origin in 1492 when Christopher Columbus arrived on October 12th to the coast of Guanani (Bahamas). It is a national holiday in many countries in the Americas, called Columbus Day or Día de la Raza (Day of the Race), and in Spain, called also Día de la Hispanidad.
- NOV 1st – Día de todos Los Santos – All Saints’ Day
- DEC 6th – Día de la Constitución Española – Day of Spanish Constitution – The Spaniards celebrate the elections that made possible the adoption of the Constitution as we know it today. That vote was held in 1978 being the first after the Franco’s era. It is the first constitution formed by consensus in Spain, the ones before had been ruled by ideologies who remained in power.
- DEC 8th – La Inmaculada Concepción – Immaculate Conception – The Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the Spanish Infantry and the Civil Guard. Its origin comes from the so-called Battle of Empel in 1585, where the Spanish troops were fighting the squadron of Admiral Holak, this opened the floodgates of the dam on a river and flooded the camp of the Spanish troops. They had to climb a small hill, Mount Empel, where one of the soldiers building a fort found the image of the Immaculate Conception, the same night the river froze and Spanish troops could surprise the Holak troops and win. This day is celebrated since 1644.
- DEC 25th and 26th – Natividad del Señor y San Estebán – Christmas and Boxing Day
It is not very usual in Catalonia to make a great dinner on Christmas Eve, but what is really important that night is to make ‘cagar’ the tió. Tió is a wooden trunk covered with a blanket or cloth it gets beaten by kids singing a typical song. Then the tió ‘shits’ gifts, toys, candy, nougat … It’s an alternative to Santa Claus, but also a way to receive double gifts (second occassion is on Jan, 6th).