Sant Medir is one of the most popular festivals in the old town of Gràcia. It is an annual festival celebrated on the 3rd March. Sant Medir Festival is best known for the tones of sweets and toffees thrown to the public from the horses, floats and lorries in the procession.
That is why it is fondly known as the “La festa més dolça” the Sweetest Festival”.100 tons of sweets are given away every year during the colourful Sant Medir parade.
The party starts early morning with the formation of different Colles on their social premises to begin the parade in the different neighborhoods. At noon, the colles participate in the meeting in the chapel of Sant Medir amid Collserola, together with the citizens of Sant Cugat.
At dusk, all together Colles parade down the street Gran de Gràcia to the Jardinets throwing tons and tons of sweets to the waiting public who are armed with bags, buckets and umbrellas to collect as many as they can.Over 120 horser are taking part in th Sant Medir procession.Around 26 parade groups (called colles) gather on various streets in the “Vila de Gracia” area and then come together on the street Carrer de Sant Salvador to form a procession of horses, carts and lorries. They finish at the “Jardinets de Gracia” which is the wide area between at the top end of Passeig de Grácia after Av Diagonal and before Gran de Gracia starts. The evening finishes with fireworks.
The Sant Gervasi and La Bordeta neighborhoods are also organizing cercaviles and a pilgrimage to the shrine. Once there they gather together to pay homage to the saint by celebrating mass and tying commemorative bows to each colla’s banner. La Bordeta hold their celebration on the Sunday after the feast day.Gràcia and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi always hold it on a working day, so if 3rd March is on a Sunday, the festival will take place on the 4th. However, in La Bordeta, the procession is always on the Sunday following the feast day.
The legend of the Festa de Sant Medir or Sant Emeriterio in Spanish, is about a farmer who became a Catholic Saint and goes back to Roman times during the persecution of Christians.
The origins of the Festa de Sant Medir can be traced to Gràcia and a promise made in 1828 by the baker Josep Vidal i Granés, whose bakery was on Carrer Gran. He said that if he recovered from the illness he was suffering, each year he would go on a pilgrimage to the Ermita de Sant Medir.
That year he honored his promise for the first time and, gradually, he was joined by friends and more and more people, who later formed into groups. On the first processions, when he had come back from the pilgrimage, the Gràcia baker threw broad beans to the public in honor of the saint who, according to legend, sowed them. Now the beans are replaced by sweets and the celebration became known as the dolça festa, the sweet festival.