Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Barcelona - Santa Eulalia

I have already spoken about Sant Jordi, who is the patron saint of Catalonia. Seems like the Catalans love their patron saints as they keep two more in high regard: the Dark Lady in the Montserrat monastery and her co-saint, Santa Eulalia.

Let’s be fair, Eulalia was the first, about 300 years after Jesus. She was a local Christian girl, barely 13 years old who refused to give up her religion and the Romans, who were ruling at that time incidentally chose her to show everybody not to mess with their power.

It is believed she was subject to 13 kinds of torture by the Romans. One of them was to put her in a wine barrel and thrust lots of swords through it, then roll the barrel down Montjuic mountain. The legend says they needed to devise 13 types of torture as Eulalia survived every single one of them. At the end they crucified her on an X shaped cross until she was finally decapitated. According to the legend when her head was taken a white dove flew out of her neck.

In the Gothic Quarter you might come across her shrine. It is in a little niche on the wall next to a slope that is an implication to the torture mentioned above. Under the shrine there’s a little explanation. Notice the cross and the barrel at the bottom of the sign.

She is a very popular saint and there are many streets, buildings and statues named after her. Her tomb can be found in the Cathedral that was built for her.

Behind the church in the cloister there are always 13 white geese to represent her 13 innocent years. It’s a lovely cloister, open and sunny full of palm trees and…white geese. It is quite interesting to see how people just swiftly walk through the church in order to see the geese.

The Cathedral is free to enter every day after 17:00. Just watch the people. In one moment there’s nobody inside and a minute past five a sea of people start heading in one direction from all over the square, like they’re just about to start a flash mob. It is quite entertaining to watch. You would think there’s a huge celebrity inside but in truth they are all running just to see some geese!
If you’d like to go in, too, maybe wait until 17:30 to have a bit more relaxed time inside.   

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