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National Day of Catalonia

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National Day of Catalonia
(Catalan: Diada Nacional de Catalunya)
Floral offerings to the monument of Rafael Casanova, one of the commanders of the Catalan army during the Siege of Barcelona in Barcelona, 2005
Official nameDiada Nacional de Catalunya
Also calledDiada, Onze de Setembre
Observed byCatalonia (Spain)
TypeNational day
SignificanceCommemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714.
CelebrationsFlag hoisting, floral offerings, singing patriotic songs and Els Segadors, speeches, demonstrations, entertainment and cultural programs
Date11 September

The National Day of Catalonia[1] (Catalan: Diada Nacional de Catalunya [diˈaðə nəsi.uˈnal kətəˈluɲə], Spanish: Día Nacional de Cataluña) is a day-long festival in Catalonia and one of its official national symbols, celebrated annually on 11 September. It commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 and the subsequent loss of Catalan institutions and laws.[2]


After the evacuation of the pro-Habsburg armies from Spain at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, as a result of the Peace of Utrecht (1713) in which the Bourbon pretender Philip V was recognized king of the Iberian dominions of the Spanish Monarchy, the Principality of Catalonia unilaterally decided to remain in the war by decision of its Junta de Braços (Catalan assembly of Estates) on 9 July 1713, in order to protect the Catalan constitutions and lives from the expected repression. After months of intense fighting, the Army of Catalonia raised for that purpose, as well the Coronela (urban militia) of Barcelona were finally defeated at the Siege of Barcelona by the combined Spanish and French armies on 11 September 1714 after 14 months of siege, in which the Head Councillor (mayor) of Barcelona, Rafael Casanova, was severely wounded during the defence of the wall. The subsequent promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees (1716) abolished most of the Catalan constitutions and institutions (among them the Catalan Courts, the Generalitat, and the Consell de Cent), meaning the end of the Principality of Catalonia as a separate state,[3] becoming a province of a centralized Kingdom of Spain reorganized as a French-inspired absolute monarchy.[4]

The holiday was first celebrated on 11 September 1886. In 1888, coinciding with the inauguration of the Barcelona Universal Exposition, a statue in honor of Rafael Casanova was set up, which would become the point of reference of the events of the Diada. The celebration gained popularity over the following years; the Diada of 1923 was a great mass event, with more than a thousand floral offerings, acts throughout Catalonia and a certain institutional participation. But the demonstrations caused 17 wounded, five policemen and 12 protesters, and several arrests. The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera banned the celebration. During the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939), the Generalitat de Catalunya (the autonomous government of Catalonia established in 1931) institutionalized the celebration.[5] The National Days that took place during the Spanish Civil War (1936, 1937 and 1938) had a marked anti-fascist character and the anarchist trade union CNT took part of the celebrations.[6]

It was suppressed by the Francoist dictatorship in 1939, and relegated to the family and private sphere, but continued to be celebrated clandestinely. The monument of Rafael Casanova was removed. Since 1940 the National Front of Catalonia took advantage of the day to carry out some propaganda actions: distribution of anti-fascist leaflets, clandestine hanging of Catalan flags, etc. It was celebrated again publicly for the first time on 11 September 1976, one year after the death of Francisco Franco, being followed the next year by a huge demonstration in Barcelona demanding the restitution of Catalan self-government, in which the Casanova's statue was repositioned in its place, and the celebration was reinstated officially in 1980 by the Generalitat de Catalunya, upon its reestablishment after the Spanish transition to democracy, being the first law approved by the also restored Parliament of Catalonia.[7]


Nationalist organizations, political parties and institutions traditionally lay floral offerings at monuments of those who led the defence of the city such as Rafael Casanova and General Moragues, marking their stand against the king Philip V of Spain. Typically, Catalan independentists organize demonstrations and meet at the Fossar de les Moreres in Barcelona, where they pay homage to the defenders of city who died during the siege and were buried there. Throughout the day, there are patriotic demonstrations and cultural events in many Catalan villages and many citizens wave senyeres and estelades. The event has become more explicitly political and particularly focused on independence rallies in the 2010s.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Day of Catalonia – Generalitat de Catalunya Archived 7 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ When the Treaty of Utrecht was signed between April and July 1713, the Principality of Catalonia remained (alongside the Kingdom of Majorca) the only Iberian realm which still fought for the cause of Charles III. By 9 July, the States-General of Catalonia decided to remain in the war in order to defend the Catalan constitutions
  3. ^ Ryder, Alan (2007). The Wreck of Catalonia. Civil War in the Fifteenth Century. Oxford University Press. p. v. ISBN 978-0-19-920736-7. This group of states comprised the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, and Majorca, the principality of Catalonia, and the counties of Roussillon and Cerdagne; further afield it embraced the kingdoms of Sicily and Sardinia. These states had no common institutions or bonds save allegiance to a common sovereign
  4. ^ Mercader, J. Felip V i Catalunya. (Barcelona, 1968)
  5. ^ La conmemoració durant la Segona República i la Guerra Civil. arxiuhistoric.bcn.cat
  6. ^ Institutionalisation during the Spanish Republic (1931–1939). Generalitat de Catalunya
  7. ^ "Onze de Setembre" Archived 10 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine, in: Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana (online)
  8. ^ Jones, Sam (10 September 2017). "Catalans to celebrate Their National Day with Independence Protests". The Guardian.

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