Generalitat de Catalunya

access to the news
access to the menu

Catalonia
> Catalonia > The National Symbols
National Symbols
Catalonia has its own representative and distinctive symbols: the Catalan flag, the national anthem and the National Day.


The Catalan Flag
flag
The flag of Catalonia is a flag of heraldic origin, the result of the transfer of the symbol on the coat of arms of the Counts of Barcelona to a piece of fabric. The counts' flag, pennant or standard may well have existed prior to the coat of arms. We have not documentary evidence until the 13th century, but it is one of the oldest in Europe.

At first, the bars of the coat of arms were either represented on the flag in a vertical or horizontal position. In the end, the horizontal position prevailed, becoming the official flag of the Catalan nation: four red bars alternating with five yellow ones, all of the same width. The flag acquired official status with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, a State organic law passed in 1979.

The National Anthem
Els Segadors has been the national anthem of Catalonia since the end of the 19th century. The present lyrics were written by Emili Guanyavents in 1899. It uses elements which have their origin in the oral tradition, and which were already collected by writter and filologist Manuel Milà i Fontanals in 1882. The musical score belongs to Francesc Alió who composed it in 1892, adapting the melody from a previously existing song. This anthem is thus a reflection of an original song which has its origin in the historical events of 1640: the war of the Catalans against King Philip IV, a war in which the peasants played a key role.

The anthem has the characteristics of a fierce call to defend the freedom of the land. It is solemn and firm and unites the wills of people in favour of the survival of a nation which proclaims its full national character.

Els Segadors was declared the Catalan national anthem by an Act of the Catalan Parliament dated 25 February 1993.

The official sound recording was made and released in 1994.

Els segadors
Score of Els Segadors.
TEXT OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

Triumphant, Catalonia,
Will once again be rich and full!
We must not be the prey
Of those proud and arrogant invaders!
Let us swing the sickle!
Let us swing the sickle, defenders of our land!
Let us swing the sickle!
Now is the moment, oh reapers!
Now is the moment, to be alert!
Awaiting the arrival of another June
Let us sharpen our tools!
(Chorus)
May our enemy tremble
On seeing our noble flag:
Just as we reap the golden corn,
May we also cut free of the chains!
(Chorus)



Official version, choral symphonic, of the national anthem of Catalonia. Harmony and orchestration by Antoni Ros Marbà (1'49")


The National Day of Catalonia
The first act passed by the Parliament when it was created in 1980 declared September 11th as the Catalan National Day in the following terms: "(...) In times of struggle, the Catalan people used to mark a special day, the eleventh of September, as the National Day of Catalonia. A special day which, while representing the painful memories of the loss of liberties, on the eleventh of September 1714, and an attitude of struggle and active resistance to oppression, also embodied the hope of total recovery of its nationhood. Now that Catalonia is back on its path to freedom, the representatives of the People think that the Legislative House should sanction what the Nation has already unanimously decided. Therefore, the People of Catalonia, by the powers vested in its Parliament, establishes the following law
"Article one. The eleventh of September is declared the National Day of Catalonia.
"Article two. This act will come into force on the day of its publication in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat.
"I hereby order that all citizens to whom this act is applicable cooperate in its implementation and that the Tribunals and Authorities to which it corresponds see to its compliance."


     
| | |