Culture of Barcelona and Catalonia

Catalonia Independence

Catalan Flags hang from homes to show support for independence

Catalonian flags hang from homes to show support for independence

Catalonia is the region in NE Spain comprising 10% of Spain´s land and 15% of its population. Like the Basque country, Catalonia sees itself as being different from Spain, strives for independence and has its own language – Catalan – which is a mix of French and Spanish. There was an independence vote the week before we arrived. Unlike the Scottish independence referendum, the Spanish government declared the independence referendum to be illegal, but Catalonia proceeded with the vote regardless. 80% of the people who participated in the voting voted for independence, but only 1/3 of the adult population voted. Many believe that the turnout was low because people didn´t want to take part in an illegal referendum. Before the vote, polls indicated that 55% of the voting population supported independence.

Caganers in Nativity Scenes and Uncle Poo

CaganerSoccerPlayer

Caganer Soccer Player

A Caganer is a little model of someone pooping which is tucked at the back of nativity scenes, much to the delight of everyone. A caganer is never placed in front of Baby Jesus.  Some store windows are filled with caganers representing different political figures and cultural “ïcons” (e.g. Sponge Bob).   Caga Tio translates to Uncle Poo. It is a supposedly defecating log, somehow the Catalonian equivalent to Father Christmas. Caga Tio is cared for by Catalan children in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Caga Tio, or Uncle Poo

Caga Tio, or Uncle Poo

From December 8th his behind is wrapped in a blanket and he’s fed orange peel and turron (a type of Spanish nougat) every evening. It’s thought the more Caga Tio is fed, the more presents or Christmas goodies he’ll excrete from his behind on Christmas day. On Christmas Day, the children beat Caga Tio with sticks, and he excretes the presents, as they sing a special song demanding more.

World´s biggest Caganer

World´s biggest Caganer

Read more and see great pictures

Pictures of Caganers

Caga Tio Song

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.Note. The photos in this Caganer section are from the web.

Human Castellers – a time honored tradition in Barcelona

Sculpture showing how tall the tallest village stack was

Sculpture showing how tall the tallest village stack was

Castellers is a competition between communities or neighborhoods to see who can make the highest human pyramid. They get beefy men on the bottom, then lighter men, then women, and sometimes they top it off with 4 year old kids, 80 feet in the air. They have to move fast because the guys at the bottom can only last so long. A good photo and more explanation is here.

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The Catalan soccer team are called Barsa.

Barsa Soccer Team

Barsa Soccer Team

They are more than a soccer team, they are Catalan´s warriors going forth to demonstrate Catalan supremacy. Their jerseys are the Catalan flag.

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