Celebrating all things Catalan

TODAY (Thursday) is the National Day of Catalonia. Traditionally a day to celebrate the region’s heroes, it has also become a focus point for many people to demonstrate for Catalan independence.

All around the region, and particularly in the capital Barcelona, there will be events and demonstrations planned to mark the day, which is held on September 11 every year.

Organisations and political parties will lay flowers and wreaths at monuments to local heroes throughout the region. There will be political demonstrations, many calling for independence, and meetings in memory of the solidiers who defended Barcelona during the war of the Spanish Succession. It is also a day for festivities with concerts featuring traditional Catalan music, plenty of private parties and huge paellas cooked for communal meals.

The day marks the anniversary of the Bourbon forces’ recapture of Barcelona on September 11, 1714, after a siege. When the Autonomous Region of Catalonia was set up in 1979 one of its first acts was to declare September 11 the Day of Catalonia. It was to mark the painful memories of the defeat and loss of freedoms that happened in 1714. So in 1980, September 11 was officially a public holiday for the first time.

Many shops and businesses in the region will be closed, but it is not a holiday in other parts of Spain.

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