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Catalan Culture 2004 Class Blog

viernes, noviembre 21, 2003

Assignment 3.

I have decided to write about my experience of September 11th in Barcelona, also known as Diada National de Catalonia or National Catalan Day.
September 11th to the people of Catalonia is the celebration of the day in 1714 when Barcelona surrended and fell to the French/Castilian Army during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was an awful time for the people of Catalonia because following the war Philip V abolished the Catalonia Government institutions and implemented Spanish laws upon them.
It may seem strange that the people celebrate the day they surrended to other authorities but they see it as a rememberance of what its like not to be free. It was in 1980 when the Parliament of Catalonia was created and the declaration that September 11th would be the national holiday was the first act passed by them.
September 11th though was first celebrated back in 1977 because it was the first time since the Succession that they could celebrate freely. On that day over 1 million people went out into the streets and displayed La Senyera, the Catalan national flag with pride.
The first thing i noticed when I woke up on September 11th was that all the shops were closed! It was my mom´s last day in Barcelona and we had planned to go shopping and so we were disappointed. We knew something was happening in the city because on the previous days we had seen many Catalan flags displayed around the shops and on balconies. Because the shops were shut we decided to go on the tour bus and just a few metres up Passeig de Gracia we realised that it wasn´t just the shops that were shut but there were hundreds of people out on the streets with police controlling the situation. We then asked the tour rep what was going on and she explained to us that it was their National day and so we decided to get off the bus by Placa Jaume where there was another large congregation of people.
Everyone seemed really happy and were enjoying themselves and the atmosphere was really nice with everyone getting along so well together. There were many families out together and they were all singing what I presume was their National Anthem. Many were also dancing the Sardana dance too.
We then got back on the bus and went to Placa Catalunya where there was some sort of demonstration going on which I think was due to the fact that Catalonia still wants independence from Spain.
Down La Rambla there were also many Catalan flags displayed and there were stalls selling Catalan merchandise including flags, books, car stickers and t-shirts. Again there was a lovely friendly atmosphere.
During the evening there were many firework displays which we watched from our hotel room and noticed many people walking the streets, probably going to parties for yet more celebrations.
I really enjoyed the day and found the people really friendly. There was a real sense of unity and I was happy to be a part of it. Nothing like this happens in England so Im glad that I witnessed it. They obviously want independance very bad if they put so much effort into these events.

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