Not many people know, but Barcelona really has two patron saints. Our Lady of Mercy is the obvious one, made famous by September's La Merce celebrations, and you'd be forgiven for guessing at Saint George (Sant Jordi) as the other, but he's actually for the whole of Catalonia.
No, I'm talking about Santa Eulalia, or how she's affectionately known, Laia.
Laia is kind of remembered as the children's saint, and probably because she died so young. A little girl who protested in defence of the Christian persecution, she was only 13 when she died - and a particularly horrible death at that. She is warmly remembered and even has her own "mini" gegant on display at the city's ministry of culture building on las ramblas. Fitting, then that it's the start of carnaval week, and even if the weather looks like it doesn't want to play along (it's raining, and apparently is going to be like this all week!) then there's plenty to keep things happy for the kids!
Starting on Friday, there are many activities going on around the old town, and for a full programme of events, see the city's website. Just a selection of activities to whet your appetite however, are the parades through the gothic quarter, hip-hop workshops for the kids, classical music concerts in the maritime museum, various dances and theatre pieces and a correfoc fire-run, too! The city's museums are all joining in the fun starting from today, and many have free entrance on Saturday, for example. Full details here (pdf).
Are you coming to Barcelona this month? Check out these self-catering apartments in Barcelona as a great way to save money over a hotel.