In America, September 11th has a deep and abiding meaning. In Catalonia, September 11th also has deep emotional significance. Called “Diada,” September 11th is the day memorializing the fall of Barcelona to Spain in 1714.
One of the prominent flags flying during the Catalonia independence from Spain protests in Barcelona is La Senyera. However La Senyera can be seen flying in the streets year round. As you wander Barcelona, take note of how many times you see it. Knowing the meaning of La Senyera will give you some insights into the attitude of the city you’re visiting.
La Senyera lays claim to being one of the oldest European flags in use today. The origin myth dates back to 897 during the siege of Barcelona by the Moors. During a battle Wilfred the Hairy (Count of Barcelona) was wounded. King Charles the Bald touched the Count’s war wound then spread four bloody fingers over his golden shield in honor and gratefulness. Thus four red bars over a field of gold. Of course, history does tell that Charles the Bald died in 877, but the romance of the historic fight for Barcelona — the fight for Catalonia’s freedom — against invaders is a formidable symbol to this day.
While origin myths appeal to the emotional, historic facts are another thing. The Government of the Catalonia believes the design may date back to the coat of arms used in the 11th century by the Count of Barcelona.
Regardless the origin, today La Senyera is the official flag of the four Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands and Valenica.