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Catalan Culture

In this section you will find articles about Catalan culture to learn about local customs and ways of life. To enjoy Barcelona like a local would, you can rent one of our apartments in the uptown residential areas of Barcelona.

Catalan culture differs from Spanish culture and has its own set of traditional festivals. We made a survey asking 850 non-natives from 26 different nations who have lived in Barcelona for at least 3 months "What is the Catalan tradition that has impressed you the most?. The number one result was Sant Jordi (Saint George's Day). April 23 in Barcelona turns the city into a very romantic place and the streets fill with flowers and book stalls.

The second favourite Catalan tradition was Castellers, in which participants form human castles. They take place all over the country, however you'll likely see them in Barcelona during events like the Mercè Festival.

You may have heard about Correfocs - meaning "fire run" - a name which gives a good idea of what to expect. More than just fireworks, it's a fiery parade with music, colour, and explosions. It's an unmissable expression of Catalan culture and you can see it during annual neighbourhood festivities and other important events.

A somber date for Catalans is 11 September, commemorating anniversary of the fall of Barcelona in 1714. It was on this date that Catalonia lost its political independence. The date is now marked as National Catalonia Day, which has celebrations around the city, and in more recent years millions-strong peaceful demonstrations in favour of independence.

If you visit Barcelona during the winter or if you live here, then expect to witness the New Year celebrations. There are three traditions to celebrate the arrival of the new year: eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, putting a gold object in your glass of champagne to toast, and wearing red underwear. These are no specific to the Catalan culture but also Spain. Christmas, however, has plenty of unique-to-Catalonia traditions, like the Caganer and Caga Tió, and Barcelona as a city transforms into a winter-wonderland.

Across Spain, Easter is still well-celebrated. It's not as big of a deal in Catalonia, but compared to many other countries it is. In Catalonia, the most important day for locals is Palm Sunday when locals flock to their local church with dried palms and children get sweets, whilst hitting the branches to the floor. There is also a float representing Jesus's return to Jerusalem on a donkey called the Burreta. There's also Easter Friday. Religious Catalans will eat fish on this day, for example a dish with cod called Esqueixada. Then there are the "Monas de Pascua", these days usually scenes from children's favourite cartoons constructed from chocolate and other delicious treats.

Infographic - Favourite Catalan traditions
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