The traditional dance
The sardana is a popular Catalan dance, which best symbolizes Catalonia. It is an outdoor dance (squares, streets…), a dance of celebration and fraternity, solar by its form, Mediterranean by its mesure.
The musical set specialised in the interpretation of sardanas is unique in the world. The COBLA is made up of the following instruments: a pipe and a tambourine (« fabiol » and « tambori ») played by the same musician, two « tibles » and two « tenores » (wind instruments from oboe’s family and the most typical of the cobla); two trumpets, a valve trombone, two « fiscorns » (instruments which slook like the saxophone) and a trumpet and a second trombone.
So, from Roussillon plains and Empordà (birthplace of actual sardana) to beyond Ebre’s estuary, the sardana is an invitation to celebration, to Catalonia.
This element of traditional masculine costume was considered as a symbol and as a sign of catalanity. The bottom has a half circle form. The barretina (catalan hat) can be red, purple, grey or black. The way of folding or putting it on the head changed according to places and social classes that used it. When it was worn folded at the front, it was called barretina plana (flat barretina), if it was folded on the side, it was barretina de garbi.
The barretina was above all a characteristics of seafarers, but it was also worn by shepherds and peasants. It was used during urban events, such as during the great demonstration for protectionism in Barcelona in 1882.
The popular use of the barretina started to disappear at the end of 19th century, but its symbolic strength was still used in a lot of literary compositions of this period, especially during the Jocs Florals (Flower Games). In these compositions, the barretina was sometimes transformed in a symbol of freedom, some other times it symbolizes the country values against the urban conformity, or also the courage of Catalan people.
The barretina was the title of a literary and political catalanist weekly newspaper published in Barcelona between 1868 and 1904.