National Day of Catalonia
On 11th September Catalans celebrate the National Day of Catalonia, also known as the Diada, which commemorates the defeat of the troops of the Crown of Aragon at the hands of the French and Spanish army at the siege of Barcelona on this day in 1714. This was one of the final actions of the War of the Spanish Succession, which led to a period of repression during which Catalan institutions and civil liberties were abolished. That is why the Diada holds great symbolic importance for Catalan nationalism, relating as it does to the unity of the Catalan people and the desire for freedom. It is a public holiday on which every corner of the Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees is bedecked with the senyera, the red and yellow-striped Catalan flag, which is one of the oldest flags still in use in Europe, dating back to the 10th century. Apart from the institutional ceremonies, the Diada is a great day of citizen participation. Several activities take place throughout the area, starting on the evening of 10th September with the March of Torches through various towns and cities, including Figueres, Girona, Olot, Ribes de Freser, Santa Coloma de Farners and many others. There are also castells (human towers) and concerts featuring traditional and modern music in which Els segadors (The Reapers), the Catalan national anthem, is sung.
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