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Catalonia (Spain)

Cataluña, Catalunya, Autonomous Community of Catalonia

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: spain | catalonia | catalunya | cataluña | stripes: 9 (yellow-red) | senyera |
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[Catalonia (Spain)] 2:3
image by Jorge Candeias

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Name of the Flag: Senyera

The Catalonian flag is called the Senyera (flag).

Pascal Vagnat, 28 Nov 1995

The translation of the word senyera into English is "indicative" ["signal"] since senyal can be translated as "sign."

Jordi Pastalle, 1995

Some quotes in Tormo 1999 are very surprising:

  • Father Verdaguer (poet, ecclesiastic and patriot) 1860: "Notice that the Senyera is so great that out of a canton of it you can make the [former] Spanish [merchant] flag."
  • José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of Falange [Spanish para-fascist party] 1934: "The Catalan flag should be used as that of Spain, because it is the oldest and most glorious and poetic one of the [Iberian] peninsula."

Jaume Ollé, 18 Dec 1999

The reform of the statut (Estatut) of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) is currently in discussion. It is the matter of a big debate in Spain, and I am reporting here only the flag-related part of the debate.

On the first day of their joint meeting, the Constitutional Commission of the [Spanish] congress and the delegation of the Parliament of Catalonia have found an agreement on the preliminary chapter of the status. After more than eight hours of debates and the audition of the leaders of the political groups represented in the Congress and in the Parliament of Catalonia, the preliminary chapter, which defines the identity, the symbols, the language and the capital city of Catalonia, was adopted by the members of PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), PSC (Socialist Party of Catalonia?), CiU (Catalan ?) and IU-ICV (United Left-?). The Popular Party and the nationalist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya gave voted againt the chapter.

According to the agreement, the word national ("nacionales") shall be removed from the name of the article, called "Symbols of Catalonia" ("Simbolos de Cataluña"); however, the adjective shall be kept in the text, saying:

"Catalonia, defined as a nationality in Article 1, shall have for national symbols the flag, the festival and the anthem.
("Cataluña, definida como nacionalidad en el artículo 1, tiene como símbolos nacionales la bandera, la fiesta y el himno.")

Source: "La Ultima Hora Digital," 13 Mar 2006

Ivan Sache, 14 Mar 2006

The flag day of Catalunya is unfortunately the 11th of September (the day that Barcelona was invaded by Felipe V's troops in 1714 and the national government was killed).

Volker Liebermann, 20 Aug 2004

Flag Variants

Strangely, while all of the Catalan flags that I saw [during a recent vacation in Barcelona] had horizontal stripes, I noticed that some of the bureaux de change had signs with a drawing of the Spanish flag next to Cambio, the French flag next to Change, the Union Jack next to Exchange, but with a drawing of the mistaken Roussillon flag next to Canvi. Others had the normal Catalan flag. I'd certainly be interested in hearing this anomaly explained...

Vincent Morley, 09 Oct 1999

This may have a partially heraldical explanation. The Catalan flag is more or less a banner-of-arms, "more or less" because the bars would have to be vertical (ie. pallets) for it to be a definite one. Maybe at a certain point in history the Catalan flag was displayed in a vertical manner, thus being a "correct" banner-of-arms. Perhaps later the method of display changed (but the flag itself didn't) and the pallets became bars. A later re-bannerisation (what a word!) of the arms would produce a flag with vertical pallets instead of horizontal bars. This also might have happened with Luzern and Ticino. In any case, this would be an explanation of the Catalan vs. Roussillon differences. If a bureaux de change uses a wrong flag, I wouldn't call that a vexillological anomaly but vexillological ignorance.

Santiago Dotor, 14 Oct 1999