March 3rd, is Saint Medir, the patron saint of the neighbourhood of Gracia in Barcelona. A big festivity!
But when it started? Why they celebrate it and what they do.
The legend of Saint Medir is linked with another saint: Saint Sever. From 303 to 313 the big Christians persecutions in the whole Roman Empire took place. The persecutions were ordinated by the Emperor Diocletian. But with the new emperor Constantine, not only the persecutions were stopped but also the Christian religion was allowed in the Roman Empire. As only few years were passed, citizens still remembered where these martyrs were died, buried and his story. From these moments we have a big number of Saints in Europe.
So, what happen with Saint Sever and Saint Medir in this period?
Saint Sever was the bishop of Barcelona while the Christian religion wasn’t allowed and when romans soldiers persecuted him, he escaped toward Saint Cugat. In his way he met Saint Medir. He was a farmer and in this moment he was just planting broad beans. At the afternoon the broad beans have unusually grown up two meters. When the romans soldiers arrived ask him if he had seen Saint Sever. He didn’t wanted to lie, and said “when I saw him I was planting these broad beans”. Romans soldiers thought he was playing with them and they kill him. Later they found Saint Sever and kill him as well.
And why every March 3rd they go in procession to the hermitage of Saint Medir?
In 1828, a master backer who lived in Gran de Gracia, 111 was very ill and promise to Saint Medir that if he was recovered of his illness, next year he would walk to his hermitage accompanied of someone. He recovered and he accomplished his promise. First year with two friends, next year with more people. And when he saw how the moment was expected and how many people jpin them, he, as a baker, carried candies and while the procession, he presented them to children.
The tradition was just started, because they repeated it every year and now every March 3rd people from Gracia do this procession to Saint Medir hermitage and thousand of candies are thrown to children. The association of Saint Medir is the biggest one of Gracia.