Sant Josep Oriol, aka “Mr Bread and Water”
For 3 days from the 23rd -25th March the locals of the Barrio Gotico of Barcelona pay tribute to Saint Josep Oriol, a local saint from the 17th century linked to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi. The two plazas beside the church are the central point for the activities happening during the weekend.
Sant Josep Oriol was born and lived in Ciutat Vella (Old city) in the second half of the 17th century. This saint, much worshipped in the neighbourhood, was noted for his devotion to the sick and the poor, as well as for being very austere, to the point where he earned the nickname Doctor Pa i Aigua (Dr Bread and Water).
For three days there are re-enactments of the legend of the saint and the robberies carried out by a Catalan highwayman Perot Rocaguinarda, who lived in the Gothic area and left his mark there. There’s a chocolate festival and the famous Atracaments d’en Perot lo Lladre (Perot the Thief’s Hold-ups) in the local shops, where the popular duros de xocolata (chocolate coins) are given out.
Not to miss: dragons, giants and human castles
Brief but lively, the Festival of Sant Josep Oriol 2018 will be packed with popular culture and activities that appeal to all ages. Most involve the Gegants del Pi, some of the oldest giants in Catalonia.
Don’t miss the big parade (cercavila) on Sunday morning, 25 of March. It starts at 12.00 in Plaça Josep Oriol, close to Santa Maria del Pi Church. You’ll have the chance to admire an amazing display of giants, big heads and human towers (castellers) and follow them around the old streets of the Gothic Quarter.
Earlier in the morning, a ‘matinada’ (matinee) performance by gralla musicians and the Falcons de Barcelona (if you want to admire some falcons), followed by the festa major parade.
Here is all the program (in Catalan) of the Festival.