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Culture in Catalonia: A Whole New Level of Pride

by Maiya Mindoro
Culture in Catalonia: A Whole New Level of Pride in Barcelona | AIFS Study Abroad | AIFS in Barcelona, Spain

It is very easy to see Catalonian pride everywhere you look in Barcelona. Flags fly from every apartment, pins and yellow ribbons are proudly worn by residents, and even the sidewalks are decorated with spray paint declaring messages of pride. The reason for this wave of Catalonian pride is the desire for independence. Many Catalonian people have the desire for their region to be separated from the rest of Spain. This is mostly felt by those who are native to the region of Catalonia, where Barcelona is located. Those who are from other regions of Spain do not necessarily feel like independence is needed. This is reflected even in the government.

The government system in Barcelona and Catalonia are pro-independence while the rest of the Spanish government is not, and this had lead to conflict. Some Catalonia government officials have even been arrested due to their views of independence, and a President fled the country in order not to get arrested. There is tension from people who are on the opposing sides of the idea, as well.

Coming from the United States where there is constantly political tension, this was not necessarily new to me. Something that was new, though, was the idea that surrounded the tension. I have never seen dedication quite like I have here; there are Catalonian people who literally wear something yellow every single day to show their support. I constantly see protests, marches and action surrounding independence. These are all new cultural experiences for me.

One of my favorite memories of just confusion and awe occurred when the former President returned to Barcelona. From my 6th floor apartment, my roommates and I heard what sounded like construction work at 9 PM. When the sound didn’t stop, we looked outside to find our whole view filled with people banging pots and pans with spoons outside of their windows. The sound echoed loudly through all of our apartment buildings. It was a crazy site to see, because none of us knew what was happening! All of the students in our building had their heads out of their balconies, watching what was going on. It turns out, what these people were doing is called cacerolazo. It’s a popular form of protest that is used to call attention, which it did. We now know that this is usually done by the pro-independence group against the Spanish government. Whether or not the government’s attention was grabbed, I was captivated by this unique political event.

This post was contributed by Maiya Mindoro, who is spending her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Barcelona, Spain.

Culture in Catalonia: A Whole New Level of Pride in Barcelona | AIFS Study Abroad | AIFS in Barcelona, Spain

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