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Catalan and Culture – Part 1

Catalonia has managed to retain its own authentic linguistic and cultural tradition, in spite of the fact that it’s been in the middle of a political flux that has lasted for numerous centuries. There are a great number of contradictory aspects to the region. For example, it’s politically aligned with the Spanish government, shaping its infrastructure, income, and laws, while maintaining its own regional identity.

What has been lost in all this upheaval are the traditions that have long been associated with the region. Fortunately, for Catalans, efforts to restore these traditions are proving to be a successful cause.

Cultural relevance

Catalan traditions, which include its language, dance, sports, and festivals, have long been culturally relevant to the region. Political upheaval, however, has meant that honouring such traditions has proven to be dangerous.

Organisations outside of the government that make an effort to keep the regional culture alive yeoman’s work in order to achieve this. Their efforts are particularly vital in the present climate, as Catalonia’s renewed spirit for independence has increased the tension between the region and the Spanish government.

Unique cultural identity

The political history in the region goes all the way back to medieval times. However, Catalonia’s unique cultural identity, along with its determination to persist despite repression, has continued for hundreds of years.

In recent times, Catalonia has seen a resurgence in its culture, as it attempts to restore its identity after years of repression. Associations in the area have brought diverse communities together to join forces in preserving both the traditions and languages that have long been custom to the area.

Old traditions restored

In addition to the Catalan language being restored- it’s the most common language taught in the majority of schools- old traditions have been brought back to life by local organisations. These traditions include feast days with food and dance performances, human tower teams, and masquerades. The human tower teams feature over 100 locals balancing bodies on top of one another.

While these traditions are hundreds of years old, it’s a very different Catalonia that we’re seeing now compared to how it looked in years gone by. In the year 2000, immigrants in the region accounted for just three per cent of its population. We aren’t talking about a distant past, either. That number increased to 14 per cent in 2017.

Social integration

The evolution of demographics in Catalonia has given power to the bid to restore old traditions, as the cultural organisations making the effort to do so reach out directly to immigrants as they take on new members. This is just one strategy they use in order to ensure that these newcomers don’t feel separated from other people in Catalonia. It has helped enormously with social integration.

If history is anything to go by, political squabbles in Catalonia are what poses the biggest threat to maintaining the region’s cultural traditions. Its commitment in recent years, however, in doing what it can, lends hope to the restoration and retention of its culture and language, providing this politically-troubled region with some cause for optimism.