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September 11 is the National Day of Catalonia (LaDiada Nacional in Catalan), which commemorates the events of 1714, and one of the turning points in the War of the Spanish Succession. After holding out for fourteen months, the Siege of Barcelona ended when the Catalan troops were defeated by the armies of Philip V of Spain.
It is traditional for prominent members of Catalan society to lay flowers beneath the monument to Rafael Casanova, who led the ill-fated defence of the city, and to visit the Fossar de les Moreres, the memorial square where the people who died in the 1714 siege lie buried. This year, like every other, the president of FC Barcelona and other representatives of the club will be among those who go to pay their respects.
Wearing the colours
The day is noted for being an outpouring of Catalan sentiment, with cities all around Catalonia awash with the senyera, the Catalan flag. Legend has it that the colours date from when Charles the Bald dragged his bloodied fingers down the shield of Wilfred I following the latter’s death of 879. Although the exact origins are disputed, the flag is one of the oldest in Europe and for centuries was associated to the Crown of Aragon.
Although FC Barcelona’s colours have always been the famous blaugrana, the Catalan flag is also closely associated to the club. It appears alongside the St George (St Jordi) cross on the team badge, and in recent years has also been worked into the design of the shirt. The Nike away strip launched in 2013 went the whole hog and was entirely based on the iconic yellow and red stripes. It was such a success that it was retained for the following season and worn at the Camp Nou for the Liga game against Athletic Bilbao to commemorate the tercentenary of the events of 1714.
The idea has been so well-received among fans that it has been repeated in the 2015/16 away kit, which is now plain yellow on the front, but with four red stripes on the back.
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