The Smurfs and Us

March 20, 2014

The meaning of some objects in the folklore – sometimes - is hidden under layers of dust, and few people know the nature of that object. Talking about Catalonia, there is one really interesting: the barretina.

 

You can think that is a traditional cap a little bit eccentric - just like every Catalonian that respect himself – and quite colorful and distinctive for the usually monochromatic clothes of a peasant. But the truth is that is a sign of rebellion.

 

This is the story: the Catalonian adopted this cap at the end of the 17th century from the french revolutionary militia, when the Ancient Regime (the Absolutist Monarchy) fell. In France, this cap was known as Phrygian Cap and was the sign of the freed slaves in the Classical Greece. This is because this cap has been a historical sign of freedom and republic (because the ancient laws of slavery changed when the democracy arrived at the government of the Classical Greece).

 

The french revolutionary militia got their reasons to wear it, but the Catalonian? Yes, there is an historical reason: in 1714 the semi-independent government of Catalonia, in the middle of a gargantuan succession war, helped the candidate that lost that war; and as a direct consequence, the Catalonian lost their regional privileges. In protest, and following the example of the french people, they begin to declare their unfair situation with this cap.

 

Today, few people claim the meaning of the cap, and most of them wear it as an expression of tradition and folklore. It's easy to check: when the desire of independence is stronger than ever, nobody wears this silent sign of protest: has lost his significance.

 

For more information: Phrygian Cap

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