What is the national day of Catalonia?
The National Day of Catalonia is a day-long festival in Catalonia. Celebrated on the September 11 it is an official national symbol. It commemorates two things; Firstly, the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714. Secondly the loss of Catalan institutions and laws.
When was it first celebrated?
The holiday was first celebrated on September 11th, 1886. Nationalist organizations, political parties and institutions traditionally lay floral offerings. They lay them at monuments of those who led the defence of the city. These icons mark their stand against the king Philip V of Spain. Typically, Catalan nationalists organize demonstrations and meet at the Fossar de Les Moreres in Barcelona. Here they pay respect to the defenders of the city who died during the blockade and were buried there. Throughout the day, there are patriotic demonstrations and cultural events in many Catalan villages, and many citizens wave senyeres and estelades.
What happens on the day?
Events showcasing spectacular performance start between 18.30 and 19.30 (just before sunset). Spectators will enjoy the world famous Catalan “castellers” and “geganters” amongst the many other performances. “Castellers” are massive human towers and “geganters” are animated, Goliath-like, paper-mâché giants that dazzle and amaze crowds of all ages.
The Catalan Festival sees several Barcelona’s most popular culture associations take part in the event including the Jove de Barcelona and Vila de Gràcia amongst others. Although most of the events usually include a combination of different elements of Catalan culture, sometimes the events will focus on one theme. At the end of July on July 30 there is a select dance-themed show where spectators will be entertained by the Esbart Sant Martí dance group.
On August 13 there is a unique show held around the Cathedral for the Sant Roc de la Plaça Nova Festival. This is the oldest “Festa Major” in the city. With a number of stunning performances, this is not to be missed if you’re in Barcelona. There’s also plenty of local cuisine on offer including Volant de Sant Cristòfoland Rom Cremat throughout the festival to keep you going whilst you savour this incredible showcase of Catalan culture.
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