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Catalonia (Spain)

Cataluña, Catalunya, Autonomous Community of Catalonia

Last modified: 2002-12-28 by santiago dotor
Keywords: spain | catalonia | catalunya | cataluña | stripes: 9 (yellow-red) | senyera |
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[Catalonia (Spain)] 2:3
by Jorge Candeias

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Name of the Flag


The Catalonian flag is called the Senyera (flag).

Pascal Vagnat, 28 November 1995

It is sometimes incorrectly said that senyera ultimately comes from the Spanish words sangre y oro (blood and gold) [or from Catalan sang i or]. This is wrong. The translation of the word senyera into English is "indicative" ["signal"] since senyal can be translated as "sign". The confusion arises from the use of the same colours as in the Spanish flag.

Jordi Pastalle, 1995

Josep Tormo Coromina, a Catalan vexillologist from Alcoi (Valencia) published recently the book Elogis a la Senyera, a collection of appraisal quotes to the Catalan flag. Some 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."
  • Jose 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 December 1999

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 Roussillon flag [as the Catalan, with vertical stripes] next to Canvi. Others had the normal Catalan flag. I'd certainly be interested in hearing this anomaly explained...

Vincent Morley, 9 October 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 October 1999