Decorated streets, music, and joy return as Gràcia celebrates its ‘festa major’

23 roads feature the famous handmade decorations at the restriction-free week-long festival

Decorations in the theme of Don Quixote at the 2022 Festa de Gràcia (by Miquel Vera)
Decorations in the theme of Don Quixote at the 2022 Festa de Gràcia (by Miquel Vera) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 16, 2022 12:25 PM

The famous elaborately decorated streets have returned to the Barcelona neighborhood of Gràcia for the first ‘festa major’ in the area without any pandemic restrictions for the first time since 2019. 

Normality returned again with handmade thematic designs, huge numbers of people, and plenty of music and dancing. 

Monday saw the first day of the celebration, with 23 decorated streets and squares were bustling with people from early in the afternoon, with a large presence of tourists as well. 

The festivities will last one week, until August 21, and the program includes more than 900 activities

After months of preparation, the day finally arrived for the neighbors to show off their designs and ideas to the public at the much-anticipated street party. "We are very excited because we have returned to normality but now we also have to remember what it was like," Jordi Solé told the Catalan News Agency as he enjoyed the festivities on Carrer Joan Blanques, which for a few days is transformed into New York.

On that street, people can find the most emblematic elements of American city, from a yellow taxi, hot dogs, Broadway musical posters, the Brooklyn Bridge, and many more. 

Visitors were amazed at the level of detail put into the decorations. One of the most crowded spots was Carrer Verdi, decorated in the theme of Don Quixote. "It's a good representation of Spanish culture and it's well made and well designed," said Rebecca, a Barcelona resident.

Snoopy is another standout theme, inspired by the legendary comic and companion of Charlie Brown, which is dedicated to all pets. The decorations have been made with paper mache, recycled plastic, and newspaper.

The neighbors of Carrer Llibertat have made their street more accessible for the blind. With a theme focusing on the Viking world, featuring ships, a tavern, and maps showing their travels, the different designs include panels written in Braille, with pictograms and with different textures of parts of the decorations that people can touch. The bar has also been adapted for people in wheelchairs. 

On Monday afternoon there was a guided tour with people of functional diversity with resources such as interpretation in Sign Language and codes for people with blindness or low vision which transform the text into audio thanks to the support of the ONCE foundation.