December in Catalonia

and the Catalan-speaking countries

December is a particularly interesting month in Catalonia. Here you will find the major historical events and festivals listed as well as birth and death anniversaries of important Catalans.

Obviously this is the lead up to Christmas and the New Year so as usual, there's plenty going on.

Christmas Day is celebrated pretty much the same here in Catalonia as in most other European countries with family get-togethers. Christmas Eve is a little different because it is traditionally the day of the Caga Tió, the Shitting Log that expels presents when you hit it with a stick. It is worth mentioning that Boxing Day or Sant Esteve is a public holiday in Catalonia, which it isn't in the rest of Spain.

The holiday period actually begins with the public holidays, the Day of the Spanish Constitution on December 6th and La Puríssima on December 8th, which often run into each other in what is known as a pont or bridge, when the day in between gets taken as a holiday too.

There are quite a few good Saints' Days, which are a reason for festivals and Christmas fairs but the main one, certainly in Barcelona, is on December 13th, when Santa Llúcia gives her name to the big Christmas Market outside Barcelona Cathedral.

From a historical point of view, some important constitutional events took place in November. On December 2nd 1307, Jaume II the Just ordered the persecution of the Order of the Knights Templar in the Crown of Aragon and the expropriation of its wealth and on December 15th 1412, Ferran I is chosen as King of the Crown of Aragon at the Compromise of Casp.

On December 3rd 1842, in order to put down a popular revolt, General Espartero ordered the bombing of Barcelona from the castle of Montjuïc. Another example of Spanish repression came on December 17th 1925, when the Captain General of Catalonia Joaquim Milans del Bosch i Carrió ordered the closure of FC Barcelona's Camp de les Corts, which led to Joan Gamper handing in his irrevocable resignation as president of the club.

There have been some important births in December. Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, the Catalan industrialist best-known as Antoni Gaudí's future benefactor was born on December 15th 1846 and Gaudí's teacher and rival, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was born on December 21st 1850.

Earlier in the century on December 23rd 1815, Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer was born. Cerdà was the Catalan engineer who designed the Eixample, where most of Gaudí and Domenech i Montaner's was built.

Domènech i Montaner also died on December 27th 1923 but the most important death was that of Francesc Macià, the 122nd President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, who died on CHristmas Day 1933. Macià was the first President of the Generalitat since its abolition in 1714 and was crucial in achieving its restoration during the Second Spanish Republic.

The most important Historical Events, Births, Deaths and Festivals and Commemorations in December in Catalonia and the Catalan-speaking countries are listed below and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find links to more detailed pages dedicated to each day of the month.

Many of the sayings associated with December in Catalonia focus the coming holiday season and the onset of the cold weather.

The one of chosen to illustrate the month combines the two ideas and is "Desembre Nevat, Bon Any Assegurat" (Snowy December, good year assured).


December 1st 1994 - Osona, Vic: The Mossos d'Esquadra a Catalunya substitutes the Cuerpo Nacional de Policia and the Guàrdia Civil as the force of public order and citizen security in the comarca.

December 2nd 1307 - Barcelona: Jaume II the Just orders the persecution of the Order of the Knights Templar in the Crown of Aragon and the expropriation of its wealth.

December 3rd 1842 - Barcelona: In order to put down a popular revolt, the Spanish army, commanded by General Espartero, bombs the city from the castle of Montjuïc.

December 5th 1705 - Barcelona: The last Corts Catalanes were held in the Palau de la Generalitat. They were called by Archduke Carles III and lasted until March 31st of the following year.

December 6th 1932 - Barcelona: Lluís Companys is elected President of the Parliament of Catalonia.

December 13th 2009 - Catalonia: 166 municipalities hold a popular consultation on the independence of Catalonia with the question «Està d'acord que Catalunya esdevingui un estat de dret, independent, democràtic i social, integrat a la Unió Europea?» (Do you agree that Catalonia should become a legal independendent democratic and social state, integrated in the European Union?)

December 14th 1927 - Opening of the Barcelona-Madrid air route. Iberia makes its first commercial flight.

December 15th 1412 - Casp: Ferran I is chosen as King of d'Aragon.

December 16th 1990 - Camp Nou, Barcelona: Pep Guardiola makes his debut with FC Barcelona against Cadiz.

December 17th 1925 - Barcelona: The Captain General of Catalonia Joaquim Milans del Bosch i Carrió orders the closure of FC Barcelona's El Camp de les Corts. Joan Gamper hands in his irrevocable resignation as president of the club.

December 18th 1979 - Catalonia: The Statute of Autonomy, known as the Estatut de Sau, becomes law when King Juan Carlos I approves the organic law of the Estatut d'Autonomia de Catalunya (Llei Orgànica 4/1979, 18th December).

December 19th 1359 - Cervera, La Segarra: The Corts Catalanes that would give rise to the Diputació General de Catalunya or Generalitat began.

December 20th 2003 - Barcelona: Pasqual Maragall takes office as 127th President of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

December 28th 801 - Barcelona: The Franks enter the city and proclaim Berà as first Count of Barcelona.


December 1st 1869 - Barcelona: Joan Padrós i Rubió, Catalan sports director and businessman, one of the founders of Real Madrid Club de Futbol and the first president of the club (1902-1904).

December 4th 1656 - Barcelona: Antoni de Villarroel, general who led the defence of Barcelona during the siege of 1714 (died 1726).

December 11th 1824 - Barcelona: Víctor Balaguer i Cirera, Catalan liberal politician, romantic writer and historian (died 1901).

December 13th 1923 - Barcelona: Antoni Tàpies, Catalan painter.

December 15th 1846 - Barcelona: Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, Catalan factory owner, politician and benefactor

December 21st 1850 - Barcelona: Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Catalan architect, politician and historian.

December 23rd 1815 - Centelles, Osona: Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer, Catalan engineer, urbanist, jurist, economist and politician (died 1876).

December 27th 1350 - Perpinyà, el Rosselló: Joan I the Hunter, King of the Crown of Aragon (died 1396).

December 29th 1876 - el Vendrell, Baix Penedès: Pau Casals i Defilló, Catalan cellist (died 1973).

December 29th 1962 - Amer, la Selva: Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó, journalist, politician and 130th President of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

December 31st 1378 - la Torreta de Canals, la Costera: Alfons de Borja, Pope of the Catholic Church of Rome with the name of Calixtus III from 1455 to 1458. He was the first Catalan-speaking Pope in history. (died 1458)

December 31st 1431 - Xàtiva, la Costera: Roderic de Borja, Pope of the Catholic Church of Rome with the name of Alexander VI from 1492 to 1503. He was the second Catalan-speaking Pope in history, after his uncle Calixtus III. (died 1503)


December 4th 2009 - Barcelona, El Barcelonès: Jordi Solé i Tura, Catalan lawyer, politician and university professor.

December 5th 1082 - la Perxa de l'Astor, Gualba, Vallès Oriental: Ramon Berenguer II the Cap d'Estopes, Count of Barcelona, is murdered probably by his brother, Berenguer Ramon II el Fratricide.

December 5th 1949 - Perpignan (el Rosselló): Antoni Rovira i Virgili, Catalan journalist, linguist and politician, president of the Parliament of Catalonia in exile (born 1882).

December 6th 1941 - Barcelona: Lluís Millet i Pagès, founder of the Orfeó Català.

December 19th 2003 - Badalona, El Barcelonès: Juan José Moreno Cuenca, known as El Vaquilla, actor and convicted criminal.

December 20th 1911 - Barcelona: Joan Maragall, Catalan poet and writer, important Modernista poet at the turn of the 20th century (born 1860).

December 23rd 1956 - Mataró: Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Catalan modernista architect, art historian and politician. (born 1857).

December 25th 1933 - Barcelona: Francesc Macià i Llussà, Catalan politician and general, 122nd President of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

December 25th 1948 - Prada de Conflent: Pompeu Fabra, Catalan philologist and engineer.

December 25th 1983 - Palma: Joan Miró i Ferrà, painter

December 27th 1923 - Barcelona: Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Catalan architect, politician and historian (born 1850).

December 30th 1870 - Madrid Joan Prim i Prats, Catalan general and liberal politician (born 1814).

December 30th 1998 - Barcelona: Joan Brossa, Catalan poet and artist.

Festivals and Commemorations

December 4th is the Saints' Day of Santa Bàrbara.

December 6th is the Day of the Spanish Constitution and is a public holiday. It is also the Saints' Day of Sant Nicolau.

December 8th is the Saints' Day of La Puríssima or Immaculada Concepció de la Mare de Déu.

December 13th is the Saints Day of Santa Llúcia.

December 21st is the Saints Day of Sant Tomàs.

December 24th is La Nit de Nadal or Christmas Eve and it is traditional to celebrate the Caga Tió and the Missa del Gall.

December 25th is El Dia de Nadal or Christmas Day

December 26th is La Diada de Sant Esteve or the Saints' Day of Saint Stephen, which is a public holiday in Catalonia.

December 28th is El Dia dels Sants Innocents, which is similar to April Fools Day in that people play tricks on each other.

December 31st is El Dia de l'Home dels Nassos or Day of the Man of the Noses and La Nit de Cap d'Any or New Years' Eve.

December in Catalonia Day by Day

December: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

If you think there's been an oversight or you can provide more historical detail about a particular event, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

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