Festival of sa pobla, bonfire and devil at Gràcia
Sa pobla is defined as the Saint Antonio’s bonfire (in spanish foguerons de Sant Antoni) and it is the traditional festival to not miss in january after the 3 kings day. This festival occurs every year only in the Gràcia district at Barcelona, in fact you can also experience it in Mallorca because this is a popular festivity coming from there.
This celebration is to promote the majorcan culture into the city, a kind of cultural exchange about art, gastronomy, music and dance. Historically Saint Antonio lived between the 3rd and the 4th century AD who dedicated his life to help the poor and to fight against the temptation of the devil. During the night, a bonfire was made with a kind of rites to favor the livestock and the crop fertility.
Actually, the festival at night time, it is still the tradition to make a bonfire but the rites have well been changed for a very long time to devil dances, stick dancers called paloteado, gunmen called trabucaires...
If you want to live this party, you have to be at Barcelona at the end of the month because it is always celebrated the last saturday of january although days before, some activities are scheduled but the main day to not miss is this one.
If you want to see how they prepare bonfires, you will have to be at 11h on some squares like the virreina one, diamant one, nord one... The 2 pictures below are on the diamant square and of course, fire will be lighted during the night.
To tell you the truth, it is not very interesting so if you have a hard night on friday, better to keep sleeping and be totally ready and in good form for the night because it lasts until the next day. First don’t miss the beginning of the parade located at the vila de gràcia square around 20h.
It is on this square where there is the Gràcia’s City Hall and also my favorite square of this district. You will see how devils dance with fireworks and once all groups will finish their act, they will start their walk until the virreina square.
At 21h30, bonfires will be lighted not only on this square but on all ones and normally, the parade should arrive soon. Again devils will perform their dance but also you will see other shows like the stick dance, the gunfire act… then there will have a live concert.
Don’t stay at the same place, go to others because there are different. For example, on the diamant square, you can buy some marjocan foods and if you bring your own sausages, you can grill them on bonfire or buy some.
If you are interested about the art and the culture of Mallorca, you can go to the CAT (Tradition Artisan Center, travessia de st antoni 6-8) during those festival days, a good way to know more about this balearic island. Below a little video about this event, hope it will tempt you to come and to stay near a fire, a good natural way to fight the winter cold in a great festive mood. To know everything, check its official website.