La Festa Major Sants, also known as Festes de Sants (in Catalan) or Fiesta Mayor de Sants / Fiestas de Sants (in Spanish) is one of the biggest festivals for one of the most important neighbourhoods in Barcelona, Sants. The festival takes place during the third week in August when the city is full of tourists, who unfortunately are often unaware of the festival, and when half of the city is empty as locals are away on holiday. That isn’t to say that the festival does not attract any crowds however, as the residents of Sants and the rest of the city looks forward to the entertainment and to having a good time with a great atmosphere on the streets and squares in Sants during the festival.
There is evidence that the festival started being celebrated in the mid-19th century as Santa Maria de Sants Festival, when Sants was an independent village from Barcelona. The idea to decorate the streets and squares started in 1943. Although, as the years passed this tradition declined more and more in the area until they finally stopped it between 1970 and 1984. In 1985, they reinstated this great tradition and ever since the decorated streets and squares of the area have grown and become more spectacular.
All about Sants Festival
In this unique backdrop, and just when the Gràcia Festival has finished, the Sants Festival begins. The official day of the festival is 24th August, the day of Saint Bartholomew the patron saint of what was the village of Sants, but the festival normally starts a day before and lasts for about a week. It is precisely the proximity between the two festivals and the fact that they both have a decorating competition for the streets and squares that causes the inevitable but healthy rivalry between the two neighbourhood festivals.
Main activities at Sants Festival
Most of the activities are promoted by organisations that aim to conserve and promote popular traditions. That is why, among other traditional activities, you cannot miss the “Castellers” (human towers), the “Correfocs” (fire runs) with devils as well as seeing the giants and large headed festival figures. These more traditional activities run alongside other entertainment, such as concerts and dances, both for the young and the elderly, games and activities for children to enjoy and, of course, the competition for the best decorated street and square which we’ve already mentioned. Here you will find some of the most popular activities each year at Sants Festival.
For many years the Alternative Festa Major has been organised by the Sants Neighbourhood Assembly in the Parc de l’Espanya Industrial, which coincides with the official festival events. There are many different and varied activities which are primarily based on social issues. Among the activities on offer, it is worth highlighting the different workshops, such as “Diables”, a series of concerts, poetry recitals and some cooking activities.
Streets and squares competition
Open air concerts
Giants and large headed figures
“Butifarrada” (local sausages)
Photo scavenger hunt
Festa Major de Sants 2020
Poster presented by the artist Antonella Dell’Aquila for the 2017 edition
Decorated streets and squares Sants Festival 2020
The decorated streets and squares of Sants neighbourhood are not only for making the neighbourhood look pretty during the festivities, but also as part of a competition for the best decorated street or square. When you walk through the neighbourhood during the festival, look out for all the details and don’t forget to vote for your favourite street or square.
Map of the streets and squares for Sants Festival 2020
In the map below are the streets and squares in Sants that will be decorated this year, as well as the open air and covered spaces where the main activities will take place during the festival. Remember that you can find all the information checking out the official Website (link included above).