catalonia - girona catalonia is in the north-east of spain catalonia has 4 provinces, girona is in...
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Catalonia is in the north-east of Spain
Catalonia has 4 provinces, Girona is in the north-east of Catalonia
Girona is the capital of the province and it has about 97,000 inhabitants.
Its an old city, founded around 80 ac with a rich and interesting history
Spain is not an homogenous country and its divided in 17 autonomous communities.Spain has 4 official languages.Catalonias official languages: Spanish and Catalan.Capital of Catalonia: BarcelonaCatalonia has its own Parliament, La GeneralitatIt has its own culture and traditions different from the rest of Spain.
Sant Jordi (23rd April)
Its the patron saint of Catalonia. Its a popular festive day when book and rose stalls and floods of people take over the streets of all Catalan towns and villages. In this day couples exchange books and roses. It is a unique festival celebrated on a working day.
Sant Joan (23rd-24th June)
Its a popular festival celebrated around San Joan Days eve. People gather together to create bonfires from all sorts ofwood, such as old furniture and throw firecrackers. Teenagersand children may jump over the fire. On that night you eat asweet dessert called coca and drink cava (Catalan champagne).Its the beginning of summer and the end of the school course.
La Castanyada (November)
Its celebrated around All Saints Day (1st November) and people join together to eat chestnuts, sweet potatoes and a sweet dessert called panellets. They are made of almond and sugar and have different flavours. There are stalls in the street that sell hot toasted chestnuts wrapped in newspaper.
Easter is a religious festivity and all the main celebrations are the blessing of the palms on Palm Sunday and the processions all through the week until Glory Saturday. In the processions parade passages of mysteries, armed Roman soldiers (manaies) and people wearing long tunics. One of the unique processions in Catalonia is La Dana de la Mort, held in Verges where the people dance dressed as skeletons.
In Girona its very impressive to see the dance the manaies do as they parade along the streets.
On Easter Sunday, godparents give their godchildren the mones: originally, marzipan cakes decorated with boiled eggs, but these days more likely to be a chocolate figure or cartoon character
Video manaies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQpjeTjJxqc
The curious things about theChristmas in Catalonia are:The Catalan crib: there always is the figure of el caganer, a man dressed in Catalan traditional costume shitting.Christmas log: on Christmas Eve, children hit a log with a stick, el ti, as they sing and it will shit presents for them.Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB_N7-HXTlI
Christmas Day: its the most important celebration during the season and all families join together to eat soup with stewed meat, escudella, roasted chicken and finishes and torrons (fudge) and neules (rolled wafer biscuits). The 3 wise Men: these characters bring presents to children and they parade along the streets on the evening before. Children will leave water for the camels and food for the men hoping to get the best presents.
All towns around Catalonia have their town festival. Main festivals and their characteristic elements are essential cultural ingredients of Catalonia. In these festivals there are some common traditions that are typical of the Catalan folklore:
Procession of giants and bigheads: they are figures made of wood and cardboard that represent some famous or traditional characters of the town. Its part of the identity of every village and town. In this group there are also representations of mythical animals, some of them of medieval origins.
Castellers (Human castle builders):The castellers build human towers or structures using the strength of a group of people. They have recently been appointed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. There many groups in all Catalonia that compete to build the highest tower.
Correfocs:Its a relatively new tradition in which people dressed as demons brandish forks covered in lit fireworks and chase the villagers around the village. Video castellers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1HWyUIZ5kk
Sardanes:The sardana is is a type of circle dance typical of Catalonia. The dance was originally from the Empord region, but it started gaining popularity throughout Catalonia during the 20th century. Everybody can join and dance when the cobla, the musicians, play.
Habaneres:Havaneres are sea shanties brought back from Cuba by Catalan sailors in the 19th Century, which tell stories of lost loves and faraway ancestors. Theyare usually accompanied by guitar and accordion, and sometimes bass. The lyrics may be in Catalan or Spanish.
The patron saint of Girona is Saint Narcs and its festivity is celebrated on the 29th of October. Its an official holiday and the town festivityThe legend says that he was bishop of Girona and made a lot of miracles during his life, but the most important ones happened once he was dead.The first one happened in 1285 when Girona was taken by the French army led by Philip the Bold. The French soldiers marched to the collegiate of Saint Felix where laid the uncorrupted body of Saint Narcs. To celebrate the victory the soldiers desecrated the body and suddenly from nowhere a huge crowd of flies appeared and started to attack the soldiers. They had to retreat and lost 20.000 men and 4.000 horses
The second one happened in 1653. After more than 500 years the memory of the flies was but faint. The French went for Girona again. This time thousands of blue and green flies came out from the sepulchre of the saint, which the people of Girona had put on the city wall when they knew of the French approach. Once again, Girona was saved by the flies.The fly is one of the symbols of Girona and people believe that after the 29th October all flies disappear .
El Tarl, a kind of harlequin, is one of the most typical figures of Girona. Its made of a wooden head and a soft body. The Tarl comes out during the Girona spring festivals and can be seen for about a month usually from mid April before Sant Jordi to mid May after the Temps de Flors or Flower Festival. You can see him hanging from a pole stretched over the Rambla Argenteria. Along with many colourful banners which are also strung along this street it makes for a very impressive and sight.
According to the legend during the middle ages there were many plagues like the Black Death that swept through the crowded towns of the time and several people in this street had died ; as a consequence the city authorities determined that the area should be sealed off to stop the plague spreading to other areas.
During the weeks or months that they were cut off from all their fellow citizens some of the residents decided to cheer up their neighbours with displays of acrobatics from poles erected between the narrow buildings.
Video Tarl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYt95YVSQAA
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