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Given its size and multicultural composition, Barcelona has managed to hold on to some very important traditions over time.  We’ve highlighted a few below:

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The Sardana is a typical dance of Catalonia.  It is a relatively slow, simple dance that does not require a high level of fitness, however the dance calls for rhythmic movements that are kept on pace by a circle leader.  The participants form a circle by joining hands raised in the air, alternating male and female.  Pairs may join at any time, but it is traditional to only enter to the left of another couple.  All ages and social statuses are welcomed to join in as a statement of unity.  Catalans usually meet in front of cathedrals or in plazas on Sundays to dance it.
The Castell, Catalan for “castle,” is a human tower created during certain festivals throughout Catalonia.  In Barcelona, one can witness these amazing towers of up to 9 levels during the weeklong festival of "La Mercè."   La Mercè festival is a festival for Barcelona's patron saint, which is held in the week of September 24th, the day of La Mercè.  Another activity to witness during the celebrations is that of the "Correfoc."  
During the Correfocs, “friendly devils” play with fire and the onlookers surrounding them.  The word correfoc, which literally means, “fire run,” can occur in many forms, from the simple lighting of fireworks, to the more extreme actual running though tunnels of them. 
Another tradition occurs during the festival of Sant Jordi (April 23rd).  On this day, which is the American equivalent to Valentine’s Day, men give roses to women and women give a book to men as gifts.  On this day, the city is filled with displays of the Catalan flag and stands selling roses and books. 
On the eve of Sant Joan (June 24th), the summer solstice is celebrated with big bonfires and fireworks where gatherings usually occur on the beaches of Barcelona.  A special pastry called “Coca de Sant Joan” is also typically consumed on this holiday.
Copyright 2009 Grupo Imago Grupo Imago

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