The second largest city in Spain, Barcelona is famous for its golden beaches and luscious landscapes. It is the ultimate tourist destination. But that is not all there is to this magnificent city; it is also a land submerged in hidden myths, legends and folklore. The capital of the Catalonian community, Barcelona is part of Catalan's great mythological history, and has many enchanting stories to tell. Here are three tales, full of intrigue and mystery.
The tales of two Legends
The founding of the great city of Barcelona is a subject of much debate. It traces back to two celebrated legends, either of whom could carry the title as Barcelona's founder. The first of these two figures is the mythological Hercules, also known as the Greek demigod Harcles. As legend has it, Hercules was the son of the famous Zeus and the mortal Alceme. A figure celebrated for his superb strength and indescribable courage, Hercules was the god of adventure. Defeating many trials and time after time saving his people, Hercules was a hero like no other. Folklore states that it was this demigod that founded Barcelona, four centuries before Rome. Later on the second figure Hamilcar Barca built Barcelona in the 3rd century BC, but it was Hercules who boasts the title as the city's founder, at least in spirit.
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The second legend puts the entire credit for the founding and building of Rome in the hands of Carthaginian war captain, Hamilcar Barca. The father of Hannibal (the famous and great military commander), Hamilcar Barca was both a family man who was leader of the Barcid family as well as a general and a statesman. A man of abilities, legend states that it was he who founded Barcelona and then proceeded to build it. Barca named the settlement 'Barcino' after his success, claiming the full glory for the making of this great city.
The story of Aloja
Aloja, in Catalan mythology, were women whom lived in areas of fresh, clear water. Also called Dona d'aigua, Goja or Paitida, these supernatural beings had the ability to transform themselves into water blackbirds. With glittering gold or radiant red hair and sweet emerald or dark blue eyes, these women were creatures of immense, angelic beauty. Legend has it there were very aware of their beauty and took great pride in their appearance. These small and innocent creatures were the symbol of fertility and celebrated the importance of water.
The ancient myth states that Aloja were nocturnal animals, meaning their extreme beauty could only be seen in the dark of the night. Although they were not said to be immortal, they were able to live for thousands of years still keeping the beautiful appearance of their youth. Carrying magic wands, these women could cast nasty spells such as making the water boil if visitors trespassed, but were generally of good nature.
Men who fall hard for an Aloja however, should be warned that in marrying one of these women they will have to consent to all their demands! A partnership between a man and an Aloja is generally believed to turn out poorly for the human.
The myth of Patge Gregori
Translated to 'Page Gregory' in English, this figure was one of the three Christian kings who attended the birth of Jesus Christ. The most powerful of them all, tradition states that Patge Gregori is responsible for bringing children gifts on the day of the Epiphany. A holiday which is usually around the 6th of January, the Epiphany is a Christian celebration which rejoices in the revelation of God as a human being in Jesus Christ.
The myth tells the tale of how Patge Gregori reports back to the kings telling them to bring children gifts depending on how they've behaved. With his big eyes and ability to hear like no other being, Patge Gregori is rumoured to be extremely gifted at discovering the truth. So children should be good otherwise a lump of coal, in replacement of a gift, may be heading their way!
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These three tales are only some of Barcelona's great, intriguing mythology. From the founding of Barcelona to the bringing of gifts on the Epiphany, these legends are full of magical enchantment.
An article By Maria Hubbard, who loves writing about myths and legends and advises when visiting Barcelona to hire a car from the Compare Car Hire Search Engine.
Image Credits: Wikipedia