Barcelona unveils 2023 Christmas events line-up

Lights to be switched on November 23rd with grand show on Gràcia boulevard

A Barcelona Christmas Tour bus passes in front of Antoni Gaudí's La Pedrera building on Passeig de Gràcia
A Barcelona Christmas Tour bus passes in front of Antoni Gaudí's La Pedrera building on Passeig de Gràcia / TMB
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 18, 2023 10:38 AM

November 20, 2023 01:46 PM

The mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, has unveiled the Christmas celebrations program for this year, including hundreds of activities, shows and concerts from 80 cultural associations and 235 artists.  

Collboni said the Christmas will be bigger than ever because it will include activities in new areas of the city. 

"It will be a 100% Barcelonian Christmas, unique. Under the slogan 'Christmas arrives, Barcelona arrives' we want citizens to live and rediscover the city under its Christmas lights," he explained.  

He also emphasized peace as the main theme of the celebration and called for a ceasefire in the Middle East.   

Christmas lights 

The Christmas lights will be switched on on November 23 in a spectacular display on Passeig de Gràcia to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the boulevard. At the same time, all the lights in the city will be turned on.  

The opening show, called "Astronòmica", is a visual narrative directed by the Obskené company, which will use circus, music, dance and lights to tell the story of Sunsi, a character inspired by the mathematician Assumpció Català, who was the first professional astronomer in Spain.  

Ricard Soler, director of Obskené, highlighted a moment in the show that recalls the long journey the astronomer had to take to become a pioneer in astronomy.   

"A tightrope walker will go on a journey to reach the light, which symbolizes the source of knowledge and the will to continue moving forward as a society," Soler said. 

The lights will be on from 5:30 pm to 10 pm and until 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays every day until January 6 next year. 

Barcelona Christmas Festival 

From December 16 to 29, the Barcelona Christmas Festival will take place at Plaça Catalunya and Universitat squares. Every morning there will be family activities, with workshops to make postcards and paper capgrossos (big-headed giants).

The afternoons will be focused on street arts and music, with DJ Miqui Puig and The Gramaphone All Stars Big Band. There will also be dancing performances, circus and parkour shows, along with street art.  

The main show will take place every day at 8 pm with Señor Serrano Group's theatre and music show.  

Sónar's 30th anniversary 

An interactive installation will be installed at Universitat Square to mark the 30th anniversary of Sónar music festival.

It will be open every day from 11 am to 11 pm. It will be inspired by the annual sun cycle and the celebration of the winter solstice.

The movements of participants will generate an urban choreography which will be displayed every night in a majestic light tower.  

Napolitan nativity scene  

The traditional Christmas nativity at Sant Jaume square will make a tribute to the Napolitan traditional nativity style, and the birth of Jesus will be "100% Barcelonian."

It will be accompanied by a graphic installation explaining the long history of nativity scenes. The nativity can be visited from January 1 to 5.  

Three King's parade 

The Three Kings – Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar – will arrive in Barcelona at 4pm on January 5, on board the ship Santa Eulàlia.  

At the Portal de la Pau, the mayor will greet them with bread and salt as a symbol of hospitality and – most importantly – hand them the keys to the city so that they can deliver presents to girls and boys in every home.  

The Wise Men and their entourage will then set off on their parade at 6pm, via Passeig de Colom, Avinguda Paral·lel, Ronda de Sant Pau, Carrer Urgell, and Carrer Sepúlveda to the Magic Fountain on Montjuïc, where they are expected to arrive just after 9 pm. 

New Year's Eve without Montjuïc fountain 

Montjuïc Fountain will not be part of the 2023-2024 celebration this year due to the ongoing drought affecting Catalonia. The fountain was shut down after Barcelona was declared a state of exceptionality. 

Live music across the city 

The Christmas version of the Sounds of the City Festival will take place from December 9 to January 4, with live music in squares, streets and markets across Barcelona.  

Jazz, indie, classical, folk, pop, funk, soul, techno and, this year, opera, will bring life to the city with more than 100 performances at various venues.