SWEETS FESTIVAL IN GRACIA
Definitely the favorite day of every child in Barcelona, is 3rd of March, which is known as Festa de Sant Medir. This festival is special because it involves a parade with wind instrument bands, jugglers, clowns and very colorful horse-driven carriages which are driven by representatives from the 30 different suburbs of Barcelona. Where it gets even more interesting, is the part where they throw candy on the spectators, and it literally rains tasty treats in the Gracia neighborhood. People started bringing upside-down umbrellas to the streets to make sure they catch as much candy as possible!
This fun festival is named after St Medir who is the patron saint of Fava beans, which is ironic since most kids dislike beans almost as much as they love candy!
For the adults, especially those who like stories and fables, will perhaps find the history of this festival interesting:
According to the legend, there was a man called Emeterius (Sant Medir) who was busy planting Fava beans when the bishop of Barcelona who was fleeing Barcelona for fear of persecution, pleaded with Emeterius to tell the Roman soldiers that were hunting him, that the bishop passed en-route. Emeterius agreed and told the soldiers what was requested of him.
While he was being questioned by the soldiers in the field, a miracle occurred which caused the Fava beans to grow tremendously quickly.
Unfortunately the soldiers were not convinced of Emeterius´ story and arrested (and later killed him).
Now one might wonder : How did this betrayed Fava bean farmer became honored with his own parade during which candy is thrown? The legend continues, where apparently the route that runs through Gracia was once the route of a very ill pilgrim baker, who made a promise to Sant Medir that he would make a pilgrimage to Sant Medir´s shrine, in return for a miracle that would restore his health.
When he became healthy, he did as promised and visited the shrine, called Collserola. The following year he returned, accompanied by his family. Every year after that more and more people joined, and eventually the whole neighborhood of Gracia got involved, which is what lead to the festival taking place the way it is today.