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05/20/06

Permalink 08:25:29 am, Categories: Spanish social issues, 243 words  

Soccer, Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain

Two social issues to highlight from the previous post:

- Soccer is extremely popular in Spain, and way more important than bullfighting is, especially for the new generation. Yes, indeed, you should check out your outdated stereotypes!

- Some Catalans would say that FC Barcelona's victory doesn't add up to Spanish glories, but to Catalan ones. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia (Cataluña), a significant region in the north-east of Spain and one of Spain's richest regions. They have a language of their own, Catalan, which comes directly from Latin and is not derived from Spanish, though it has many similarities with it.

Catalans speak both Catalan and Spanish as native languages. The fact that they share a language and certain culture features that are different from Spanish mainstream gives many of them a sense of being their own nation. In other words, a good deal of them would want Catalonia to become independent from Spain. This drive was greatly reinforced by Franco's oppression to their culture and language, which was most regrettable.

Franco died in 1975. Spain has remarkably recovered from his dictatorship and become one of the world's leading nations through democracy, but the autocrat's long shadow somehow still reaches to the present in Spain, a lot of times through overcompensation.

Barcelona is the second most important city of Spain after Madrid, Spain's capital. Madrid and Barcelona sustain a great rivalry and a love and hate relationship in soccer and most other areas.

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