The traditional Saint Stephen's Day choral concert in Barcelona's grand old concert hall, the Palau de la Música, has once again ended this Thursday with a resounding call for Catalan independence and the release of the political prisoners. The climactic moment occurred during the final part of the performance, when the Orfeo Català choir performed the choir's own anthem El Cant de la Senyera and the Catalan national anthem Els Segadors.
It was then that some members of the Orfeó Català - a choir which has always championed Catalan identity and culture - unfurled pro-independence estelada flags as well as a large banner featuring the name of the Tsunami Democràtic protest platform. At the same time, many of the crowd who filled the Palau got to their feet, and at the conclusion of each song, exercised their own voices: chanting for the independence of Catalonia and the release of the imprisoned pro-independence leaders.
Un any més, un clam per la independència, la llibertat dels presos polítics i el retorn de les persones exiliades. 📣— Tsunami Democràtic (@tsunami_dem) December 26, 2019
Imatges del concert de Sant Esteve de l'Orfeo Català al Palau de la Música. #TsunamiDemocràtic
Drets, llibertat i autodeterminació! 🌊 pic.twitter.com/Jl8K2mzqPH
However, throughout the performance, other more subtle references to the release of the prisoners were also on view. Many members of the choir and some of its directors wore yellow ribbons on their lapels, meanwhile a much longer yellow tape was also the protagonist of the ribbon dance performance that accompanied part of the concert.
Saint Stephen's Day - el dia de Sant Esteve -is the name which Boxing Day goes by in Catalonia - where, indeed, it is a holiday, unlike in most of the Spanish state. The day has been marked by the traditional choral concert in the Palau de la Música since 1913, just a few years after constuction of this jewel of modernista architecture was completed. The concert is both one of the most important annual occasions in the Palau and one of the Christmas concerts with most tradition in Europe.