The National Day of Catalonia or La Diada Nacional de Catalunya, is celebrated annually on September 11th. It is a day-long festival which ignites a sense of Catalonian national pride by celebrating the rich history behind the date.
The National Day of Catalonia honors September 11, 1714 when Catalonia was defeated after the 14 month Siege of Barcelona. At the culmination of the War of the Spanish Succession, Catalonian troops were overcome by the French army and the army of King Phillip V of Spain. Catalonia’s defeat marked the demise of many Catalonian institutions and the culture was repressed by Spanish Rule. It took roughly 250 years for Catalonia to rebound, but when the regional began gaining strength in 1979, the first order of business was to proclaim September 11th as a national holiday. The National Day of Catalonia was first officially made a public holiday in 1980; since then it’s been celebrated every year.
Today, Catalonia exists as an autonomous community within Spain. The national day is revered throughout the region. Most businesses and organizations in Catalonia are closed for the day and proudly display the Senyera; the official red and yellow striped flag of Catalonia. There are a number of parades, concerts, and public demonstrations held in observance of the national holiday. It is common to hear the Catalonian national anthem, Els Segadors, being played throughout the area. Paella is made in large communal batches and is a typical meal during the celebration. It is also customary for organizations and political parties to lay wreaths at Catalan monuments dedicated to the 4,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the War of the Spanish Succession.
The National Day of Catalonia commemorates the day Catalonia collapsed but it is now celebrated as a day of triumph and an acknowledgment of the resilience of the region.