Spain? Catalonia?

Sorry, peeps! I have been too busy engaging myself in my course work and in a bit of Spanish writing and translation as well so here comes the very belated blog post. During this “down time”, a lot of my mates asked me what exactly Catalonia and Catalan are. Hmm… Interesting!

Let’s start with textbook knowledge. First of all, we need to know there are 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities in Spain. For example, Andalusia and Balearic Islands. Secondly, each autonomous communities is subdivided into provinces. There are 50 provinces in Spain. Barcelona is one of the provinces of Catalonia, similarly, Granada is one of the Andalusian provinces. It might worth mentioning that there are 7 autonomous communities formed by a single province, for instance, Madrid.

Secondly, some regional identities were strengthened after being granted a autonomous government. These members are Catalonia, Basque Country, and Galicia. Interestingly, historical nationalities are designated to these three autonomous communities by the Statute of Autonomy under the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Moreover, you might have noticed that these three regions have their own language – Catalan, Basque, and Galician – which are three of the four official languages in Spain.

Here, we start focusing on Catalonia. Catalonia is an autonomous community consisting of 4 provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital of Catalonia is Barcelona and the people from this region are regarded as Catalans. Almost every Catalan would prefer being called as Catalan instead of Spanish, because of their strong Catalan nationalist mindset where they emphasise that Catalonia is a nation and they are keen on claiming independence. Similar situation can be observed in Hong Kong where most of the people there would regard themselves as Hongkongers or Hong Kong Chinese rather than Chinese.

Let’s move on to some of the most common flags you may see in the street:

Flag of Spain
Flag of Spain
Senyera, flag of Catalonia
Senyera, flag of Catalonia
Blue estelada, Catalan Independentist
Blue estelada, Catalan Independentist
Red estelada, Catalan Socialist Independentist
Red estelada, Catalan Socialist Independentist
Flag of Barcelona
Flag of Barcelona

For the flag of Barcelona, we can tell it is a combination of two senyeras in vertical and two St George’s crosses, which are exactly the same as the flag of England. The appearance of St George’s cross on the flag is due to the fact that Saint George (Sant Jordi in Catalan) is the patron saint of the city. (El día de Sant Jordi is one of the major festivals in Catalonia, read more in Spanish)

Cover photo: Barcelona City Hall

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