On Wednesday the 24th you get the honour of bearing witness to La Mercè at its most traditional. If you didn't celebrate too hard the night before, you'll want to get to Plaça de la Mercè for the 8am wake-up call of the grallas (traditional Catalan reed instrument). At a quarter past, it's an exhibition of blunderbusses and the start of the parade route. When the 'trabucaires' in their traditional dress carrying the blunderbusses arrive at Plaça Sant Jaume (10.20am), it's time for the offical start of the day with a formal ceremony full of symbolism. At 11am the end of the offical ceremony is marked by the sound of the starting gun that signals the entrance of the 'gegants' and the XXI Show of the Dance of the Giants, and the walk of the dwarfs and giants. At noon it's time for the dances of the eagle and the city giants. At 12.30pm the grallas sound again to signify the start of the city 'castellers' who will build their human towers in Plaça Sant Jaume. In the evening, at 6pm, head to Plaça del Rei for a choral concert, or watch the parade as it leaves from C/Pelai. And that's not all. There's still the traditional Catalan sardana dance at 7pm, the gralla concert and the Toc a Plegar – the last dance of the giants before they go home to the Palau de la Virreina and wait for their next big event, the Santa Eulàlia festivities in February.