08 May Balconies and La Senyera
Many of you may have seen the red and yellow flags hung from the balconies of residents all around Barcelona. Wonder why, or what they stand for? These striped flags have quite the significance for the Catalan people… It’s first sighting dating back as early as the 11th century! La Senyera is the official flag of the autonomous community of Catalonia which expands as far south as Valencia and the Balearic Islands, and as far north as the Pyrenees mounts at the French border!
History explains that each of these provinces belonging to Catalonia were once ruled under the crown of Aragon. In fact, the language Catalan is still spoken today in this region and is the main official language. According to legend, the four red stripes actually represent blood streaks painted with the fingers of a war hero across a golden shield, during a war against a Moorish ruler in Lleida. In fact, the symbol of this flag was reportedly seen on the tomb on Ramon Berenguer II, the count of Barcelona, who died in 1082!
Nowadays, the flag has a few different versions, some of which have a blue triangle with a white star. The flags may be spotted, displayed from the balconies of many apartments here in the city. In recent years, there have been numerous movements and efforts by the Catalan people in attempts to regain their independence. The starred flag, L’Estelada, is said to take after the Puerto Rican and Cuban flags, which have similar star markings, after having gained their independence from the Spanish empire. This display of the flag resembles their pride and unique identity and culture as Catalans and for this, they wish to be recognized. Be sure to keep your eyes open as you tour the city, you can’t miss them!