The city commemorates Santa Eulàlia, who met her end at the hands of the Romans after enduring terrible tortures at the age of only 13. Barcelona’s co-patron saint, along with La Mercè, Santa Eulàlia is a special favourite of children. This year, from Friday, February 8 to Tuesday the 12th, the festival boasts some new ways to celebrate, like a concert route through the organs in Ciutat Vella. That's on Saturday the 9th, when you can discover and hear six of the district's main organs that were preserved throughout the Spanish Civil War and recently restored, like those in the Palau de la Música Catalana, Palau Güell, the Santa María del Mar church and the Cathedral. If you want to participate, you've got to book in advance – check the websites of the places listed above.
Something new this year is the Diada Bastonera on Saturday the 9th. This is an event dedicated to the performance with bamboo sticks, dancing with and hitting them together with other performers. The Diada includes a performance at 11am in front of the Cathedral, another at 1.30pm in Plaça Sant Jaume, and a parade through Ciutat Vella.
To celebrate the 100th birthday of the 'new' Casa de la Carita 'gegants' (giants) and the 160th birthday of the old gegants, they'll all be on display in the Virreina Centre de la Imatge (Feb 3-10) with other guest gegants from around Catalonia and Valencia.
As with many local festivals there will also be 'correfocs' (fire runs), on Saturday the 9th – one for kids, which starts in Plaça Sant Jaume at 6.15pm, and one for grown-ups starting at 8.15pm in Plaça Nova. Another big draw is the Diada Castellera (human tower building) with various 'castellers' groups from around Barcelona (Sun 10, 11am).
The festival comes to a close Tuesday the 12th with the parade and dance of the Laia figures (Laia is short for Eulàlia), which starts in Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol at 7.30pm and ends in Plaça Sant Jaume, where the dance starts around 8.25pm.
Plus you'll find a day of open doors in City Hall on Saturday the 9th, as well as plenty of museums around the city opening their doors for free to celebrate Eulàlia.