Llum BCN 2021

Created in 2012, the Llum BCN will be back on the streets of Barcelona on 5, 6 and 7 November 2021. Originally scheduled for February this year, the festival of lights has had to be moved to November, to the delight of end-of-year visitors. Poblenou, as it has been since the 2018 edition, has been chosen to host one of the most anticipated events in the city’s cultural calendar.

Llum BCN is a large-scale light show featuring international artists. For three nights, the festival will bring together these creative explorers from different disciplines: art, lighting design and interactive environments, architecture, extended audiovisual and performing arts. Attending this festival will of course give you the opportunity to fill your eyes with stars, but also to ask yourself questions, since its aim is also to challenge our preconceived visions of what urban space can be and to create new models of participation and coexistence in public space. During three nights, the public can also discover a new neighbourhood, as in many cases the doors of restricted spaces are opened for the first time. It is a unique event for its artistic singularity, like the great European festivals of light.

In previous editions, Llum BCN has welcomed leading creators such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, United Visual Artists, Luke Jerram, Julio Le Parc, Daniel Canogar and others. Like this year’s participants, they are part of the official programme with Barcelona’s design, architecture, art and lighting schools, in a coexistence between leading artists and works from the academy, a distinctive element of the Llum BCN model.

This year there are 31 proposals from 14 different artists, three of them international. Among the places or spaces where you can enjoy a show of light, music and colour are the Plaça de les Glòries, Les Encants, the façade of Disseny Hub Barcelona, the Pompeu Fabra University, Jardí del Sol, the Plaça de les Glòries…

moon torre agbar lights event festival architecture llum

This year the festival pays tribute to the figure of the artist Eugenia Balcells. She will present two installations as part of “Light as the voice of matter”: the projection of the work Frequencies on the façade of the Museu del Disseny will show the chemical symbols of each element, and the work “From infrared to ultraviolet”, which will illuminate the neighbouring Glòries building and show the horizons of colour on an urban scale.

You will also be able to see the work of Jordi Mitjà, which is based on a ban: “Don’t look”, which is what his father used to say to him when he was welding, and he has taken this name to search for options and observations that allow us to get as close as possible to the light and, in the room, it is resolved by three video projections. You can wander around the visual and sound installation and get closer to the projected images in the Hangar space, Centro de Producción e Investigación de Artes Visuales (Carrer d’Emília Coranty, 8-16).

There is also a gastronomic area run by Van Van Llum where all festival visitors can enjoy a meeting and resting point where you can taste different hot dishes from the now famous food trucks parked in the area.

2020 lights wall coulour festival llum architecture

How to book?

This edition of Llum BCN has limited spaces. The festival is free, but it is advisable to book in advance to reduce queues and to be able to plan the visit, choose the times and improve the quality of the experience.

La Castanyada: the international chestnut festival

This traditional and popular festival, deeply rooted in Catalonia, is celebrated on All Saints’ Day (1 November), but also the day before (31 October).

The tradition of this festival is to eat chestnuts. Chestnuts are traditionally eaten on the day before and the day of Castanyada, but they can be found at street vendors in Barcelona at any time in late October.

What is it?

Chestnuts are roasted chestnuts on charcoal grills and often sold wrapped in newspaper, perfect for warming company when it is cold in Barcelona. Panellets are also very common in Barcelona at this time of year. They can be described as small almond-flavoured balls covered with pine nuts. These snacks are served in coconut, lemon or chocolate flavours. They are beautiful and traditional, and you can find them mainly in local bakeries. If you visit Barcelona during this period, this is a must-have dessert, which can also be used as a souvenir!

If you have a salty palate, you can also find sweet potatoes during the Castanyada. These little delicacies will warm you up from the inside out, often accompanied by a glass of sweet traditional muscatel wine.

chestnut, autumn, october, november, eating, food street, barcelona

Where does this festival come from?

Castanyada is a pagan tradition – like Magosto in Galicia or Asturias or Halloween in the Anglo-Saxon countries – whose origins date back to the 18th century. There are several legends that explain these beginnings. It is said that before All Saints’ Day, families gathered to watch over their dead. In order to survive, they stocked up on the first fruits of autumn, mainly chestnuts, legumes and sweet potatoes washed down with sweet wine (today’s Muscat). This custom gave rise to the emblematic figure of the “castanyera”, who prayed while the chestnuts were roasting.

Another theory is that the festival was for bell ringers, who rang the bells all night to remind the faithful of the need to pray for the souls of their dead. Whenever they rested, they regained their strength by eating what people brought them, in this case the fruits of autumn.

How is it celebrated?

Although most festivities in Catalonia include wild street parties, dancing, costumes and fireworks. The castanyada is more of a quiet celebration, with most families going to the cemetery to lay flowers and then spend time with their loved ones. If you are in Barcelona during this festival, do as the locals do and visit one of the city’s most beautiful cemeteries, the Poblenou Cemetery.

cemetery, visit, poblenou, Barcelona

Christmas lights for paying tribute to the victims of the attack in Barcelona

November 21st, 2017

This year, 2017, the Christmas lights take on a new meaning. The City Hall of Barcelona has decided that this illumination will start on the 23rd of November at 7 p.m. in a very specific place, La Rambla de Santa Mònica.

Photo by Rang Oza

If, until now, the Christmas lights disguised the beginning of the campaign of these dates, this time, they will be used in order to pay tribute to the victims of the 17th of August attack. In addition, they pretend to pay homage to the Rambla’s shopkeepers in gratitude for their responses and for their generosity.

For this reason, this year, the illumination will include the dove of peace, symbolizing what represents the day of the attack and the next days, when the people of Barcelona and a lot of other people return to open the Ramblas with the motto of “No tenim por” -We are not afraid-.

Remember, if you want to participate in this act of solidarity, go to the Rambla Santa Mònica on the 23rd of November at 7 p.m.

Christmas in Barcelona arrives in November

November 22nd, 2016

Photo by Maria Rosa Ferre

A lot of activities and expositions with a Christmas theme is already available in the main squares of the city. If you feel like enjoying these dates, in Barcelona this is possible.

Street markets and great mangers are already set up as of the 25th of November.

From the traditional Santa Lucia fair around the Cathedral, to the curious poetic manger in the Sant Jaume Square are some of the activities which are already available to enjoy while taking a walk through streets of the center of the city. In addition, streets are already filled of Christmas lights.

Although for the most critical people, this can be a call to start with the consumerism before time, we have to mention that in addition to these events, the City Hall has also started its campaign to promote the sustainable consumption, purchases in little stores, and the purchase of non-sexist toys. An initiative that, for us, is basic.

Enjoy Christmas walking through the most beautiful streets of Barcelona and having fun in its street markets and mangers. And (in order to give you an idea) if we are looking for a non-sexist and sustainable present, which respects the environment… ¿what about pedaling through Barcelona?