Festival of La Laia, the saint eulalia for children
This local festival of Barcelona is full of tradition, circus, dance and music dedicated to saint Eulalia which children are the protagonists. It is the kid festival so if you have children, it is the festival that you have to bring them.
Not only for them but also for adults, you will discover a lot of activities from the traditional ones to the modern urban culture. In the 4th century, the roman emperor Diocletianus ordered to chase all christians and to execute them so many either fled or hid from the army. According to a legend, it was said that a young girl of 13 years old named Eulàlia, who lived at Sarrià, went to the consul of Barcelona telling she was christian and how unfair was the law.
In spite to be imprisoned and suffered 13 martyrs, she didn’t give up her faith and she was sentenced to death. Since then, for the city, she represents the symbol of solidarity, defense of the justice and commitment of the youth and as the Virgin, she is the patroness of Barcelona.
During this traditional festival, you can follow the steps of the young girl. It was said that she was imprisoned inside a tower which could be located either at:
- the arc de santa eulàlia street
- the volta del remei street
- or the arc de sant ramon del call street
One of her martyrs consisted to be trapped inside a barrel full of crystals and nails and romans made it roll on the sant sever and baixada de santa eulàlia streets and if you take a walk, you should arrive to the pi square where there is the santa maria del pi church and each weekend, the market of artisan products.
On the pedro square, it was said that she was crucified totally naked and according to the legend, the sky covered her with a light layer of snow. Here you will discover the statue representing her dating from the 17th century.
The other one to go is the angel square. According again to the legend, it was here when an angel went down from the sky pointing his finger at a priest during the walk to move the relics of santa Eulàlia from the saint mary of the sands church (nowadays called saint mary of the sea church) to the cathedral. The priest, ashamed, confessed in front of everybody that he stole one of her foot finger.
Actually, her corpse rests in the cathedral of Barcelona, exactly in the crypt area. She suffered 13 tortures, one for each of her years, so 13 are the geese that you can spot at the cloister utility room of the holy cross and saint eulalia cathedral.
Now that you know this sad story, let’s talk about something more jovial. If you hear a big noise in the morning meanwhile you are walking on the streets in the Gòtic neighborhood, don’t panic because it is not a building collapsing but the announcement of the beginning of the festivity which always starts at 9h30.
A lot of outdoor and indoor activities are scheduled in the Ciutat Vella district like circus, dances and theatres of movement and gesture which take place on different streets, squares, libraries and museums.
Talking about museums, majority of them will be free entrance during the weekend including the botanic gardens, the castle of Montjuic and the City Hall for example. If you are looking for traditional ones, you have to be there the first day, simply called Saint Eulalia, to not miss the parade of the giants called laies in the Gòtic neighborhood but don’t think that all will be
done during this day. For instance, the last day you must not miss the dance of the giants called saint eulalia entourage, the human castles and pyramids, the parade of fireworks and devils called correfoc and the parade of the beasts.
So if you don’t want to miss this children festival called la laia, the santa eulàlia festival, you have to be at Barcelona the 2nd weekend of february but let me warn you, your kids will be so fascinated and so entertained that they will refuse to go to sleep during 3 days from friday to sunday. To know the full program, check its official website (no english).