Malgrat Winter Festival
Malgrat de Mar celebrates its Winter Festival on St Nicholas Day, December 6, in honour of one of the patron saints of the new church of Vilanova de Palafolls (former name for Malgrat de Mar), which was founded in 1561. Since Malgrat is very close to the sea and a sailors’ town, the villagers chose St Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, to help Saint Anthony the Abbot, advocate for people and animals, with protecting the people from the land and sea dangers.
This dedication to St Nicholas originated several religious ceremonies on his day, which later brought other social events such as markets, dances, etc., and have led to the festival we have today. In 1901, for instance, the social choir La Lira started singing in the religious office held in the morning. Also at that time, sardanas were played and danced twice during St Nicholas Day and the leading associations in town, such as el Casino, La Barretina Vermella and previously La sala Dorada of La Lleialtat, organized their own ballroom dances. Local choirs would also meet on the squares or emblematic buildings and sing traditional Catalan songs. For breakfast the tradition was to eat lamb, usually purchased at the fair of Sant Miquel in Hostalric and fattened for the occasion.
Currently, although the religious significance is limited to the religious office, as in many of the festivals around Catalonia, Malgrat de Mar still keeps Saint Nicholas Day as the central day of its winter festival. It includes plenty of activities for young and old: film screenings, disk market, tabalada drumming, correfoc (‘fire run’), concert, traditional street market, giants’ parade and dance, versots (‘satirical poetry’), theatre shows for children, and a ball dance.
Click to see the programme of Festa Major de Sant Nicolau.