When this combination of month and numbers pops out, a series of memories, emotions and feelings follow suit. As a North American, I am always reminded of the attacks on the US back in 2001. If we shot back to 1973, this was also the date where the Chilean military ousted Salvador Allende, the democratically elected leader of the country. In Catalonia, this date also carries a bittersweet feeling.
September 11 is the Diada Nacional de Catalunya (National Day of Catalonia) and I was excited to partake in the popular activities. In Canada, our national day is a time for having fun and celebrating all the wonderful things we feel our country stands for. I gather the Americans are much the same. They surely plagiarized our traditions seeing that our national day is on July 1 and theirs on July 4.
For Catalonia, this day commemorates the defeat of the Catalan forces fighting during the War of Spanish Succession. The Catalan troops fought in support of the Habsburg’s claim to the throne and were defeated at the siege of Barcelona by the royal army of the Bourbon king, Philip V. This was the beginning of what nationalists there consider an occupation, a feeling that Franco did little to appease.
I was explained that during this time, there are communal activities and festivals but these tend to be overshadowed by independentist organizations and their political rallies, protesting the royal yoke. Some adore King Juan Carlos for temporarily silencing Hugo Chavez’s bombasts, but he is not an accepted figurehead in most autonomous regions of an ethnically and culturally diverse kingdom.
You’ll see certainly notice the senyeres dancing proudly in the wind and people gathering around monuments of their fallen leaders Rafael Casanova and General Moragues. Floral offerings of many sorts stand in remembrance of the day several centuries ago. My advice if you wish to stay away from the protests is to visit some of Barcelona’s museums, as most are free to the public on September 11.