Imagine being surrounded by passion. Citizens adorned in yellow and red stripes in parading processions, flags waved to the heavens, walls of noise surrounding a city, forming a fortress of sound. This is the heart of Catalonia, and it’s party time.
Home to six million people, Catalonia is located in Spain’s North-East. Every year, these six million celebrate their Catalan citizenship devotedly, with a million times more passion than any Englishman acknowledging St George’s Day. Though the celebrations may be exuberant throughout the whole region, no place celebrates Catalonia like its capital, Barcelona.
Swapping their replica Barca football strips for yellow and red (Catalonia’s colours), they bellow, “in, in-de, indepedencia!”, longing for independence from Spain.
They’re a lot crazier than freshers though. A man walks in stilts, spouting Spanish to his fellow friendly Catalans, who greet him like an old friend. His eye-catching costume is stifling on a boiling hot day, but his patriotic dedication is much more important than his comfort.
Walking as bold as brass along the town square, he strides more like a King than a jester. Tourists may chuckle at his silly stilts, but his love for Catalonia is no laughing matter. He feels ten feet tall today, like every other proud Catalan in red and yellow.
In fact, patriotic pride takes over tourism in Barcelona. While naïve tourists queue up outside cathedrals like they would queue in a canteen, on this day rather than just experiencing a good, nice, big Spanish city, they truly discover Barcelona’s brilliance as the beating heart of Catalonia.
Barcelona thrives on this passionate atmosphere, in terms of spirit and money. Suddenly cheap tatty Barcelona mugs in grotty gift shops seem like sacred treasure. The fans are expensive (12 euros each!) but after experiencing this place, it’s a small price to pay.
Throughout the rest of the year Barcelona might just be another Spanish city but on Catalonia Day, however, Barcelona comes alive, and the Catalan spirit lives on.
Essential Catalan Phrases
Hello: Hola, Bon dia
How are you?: Com estàs?
Good night: Bona nit
Thank you: Gràcies