Every year on September 11th, Catalonians celebrate their national holiday throughout the region’s public spaces. With many of the businesses closed for the day, the National Day of Catalonia gives locals and visitors alike the chance to step back from daily routines to celebrate and commemorate. If you come to participate in this annual event you’ll witness the unique pride and patriotism found among this group of happy and passionate citizens who fought for their independence back on September 11th in 1714.
The holiday is celebrated by memorializing the Catalan heroes who fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, as well as many public and private parties throughout Barcelona and all of Catalonia. You may even catch a political demonstration by some of the still-fervent separatists, get to join in one of the many communal paella meals that are often taking place right out in the street, or catch a famous human pyramid in the making.
History of the National Day of Catalonia
Also known simply as La Diada, the National Day of Catalonia recognizes the day of September 11, 1714, towards the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, which marked the beginning of a long period in which French rule would take over the autonomous Spanish region of Catalonia. The government of Catalonia wasn’t restored until December 31, 1979, and September 11th was proclaimed as the Day of Catalonia to commemorate the painful memories of when the region lost its liberties. The National Day of Catalonia became an official holiday on September 11th, 1980.
National Day of Catalonia Events
- Ofrena floral al Monument de Rafael Casanova – Taking place at 9 am on La Diada each year is the laying of commemoration wreaths by Catalonia’s leaders such as current and former presidents, the Mayor of Barcelona, and other dignitaries from the area. It takes place at the Rafael Casanova Monument created by Rossend Nobas in 1886, a tomb at Iglesia de Sant Baldiri de Sant Boi. The wreaths are meant to pay tribute to all the Catalonian’s who died in the great War of the Spanish Succession.
- Festa par la Llibertat – This outdoor freedom festival at the Arc de Triomf celebrates Catalan culture and the movement for the region’s independence from Spain. If you’re looking for a great time outside and some lovely music, concerts begin at 7 pm and continue into the night.
- Government Open Houses – A few of the beautiful historic government buildings open their doors to the public as a way to celebrate the National Day of Catalonia each year. This year find both the Catalan Parliament at Parc de la Ciutadella open from 10 am to 7 pm, and the Palau de la Generalitat at the Plaça de Sant Jaume from 10 am to 5 pm.
The National Day of Catalonia is an exciting time to visit Barcelona this year. September 11th, 2016, falls on a Sunday, meaning that La Diada is the perfect opportunity to take a weekend away this fall. Barcelona is lovely in September as the temperatures start cooling down, and the busy month of August slips away. If you have yet to witness this epic street party and celebration of Catalan patriotism, make sure it’s on your list!
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