Christmas lights in the city of Barcelona will shine an extra hour each day in the final stretch of the 2023 Christmas season.
This decision was taken after shopkeepers, especially those on Passeig de Gràcia, expressed their dissatisfaction with the timetable initially established by the City Council.
The request to extend the timetable was widely requested, as especially Passeig de Gràcia was the protagonist of the symbolic act of turning on the lights, and on the same day criticized the “lack of sense” of turning off the lights at 22:00 on weekdays and at 23:00 on weekends, a practice that was already implemented in 2022.
Barcelona extends the Christmas lights schedule
The municipal government, led by Jaume Collboni, announced Monday that it will approve a time extension from December 15 to January 6, 2024.
This decision stems from the preview of the Barcelona Christmas Festival, which will take place between December 16 and 29, 2023, with activities centered on Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Universitat, offering a varied program of family events, music, street arts and performances.
In a statement, the City Council stressed that “lighting is a key element to promote trade during the Christmas holidays and one of the most effective measures to encourage shopping, especially in local businesses”.
In addition, they recalled that, for the fourth consecutive year, the municipal subsidy for this Christmas attraction is 75%, compared to the usual 50% before the pandemic.
An express request from the Barcelona trade
Part of the commercial association network argued that lighting was still necessary even after the stores closed at 22:00. “It would help the restaurant industry a lot,” said a spokesman for Barcelona Oberta, which groups the most central commercial hubs.
Beyond the discussion of the ecological impact of reducing hours, merchants argue that lights beyond conventional business hours will encourage shoppers to stay longer, thus benefiting bars and restaurants, which are an essential part of local business entities.
The new opening hours are from Sunday to Thursday, from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays they will be extended until midnight.
On New Year’s Eve and Twelfth Night, the lights will remain on until 1:00 a.m., as originally planned. With this modification, the total duration of Barcelona’s Christmas lighting, which began on November 23, will be 243.5 hours.
In this way, the Catalan capital will be “awake” more hours during the night thanks to the extension of the Christmas lighting schedule and during the end-of-year festivities. The lights will also be turned on during the beginning of 2024.