April is one of our favorite months of the year. Barcelona fills with the magic colors of spring and the wonderful weather that has left the cold behind and allows people to spend much more time out of their homes, walking along the beach or taking a refreshing beer in one of the many terraces of the city.
But we also love April because of two Catalan traditions that take place on the second half of the month. They are, probably, the sweetest and most delicious ones. We are talking about the “Mona” and the day of Sant Jordi -Saint George, patron Saint of Catalonia.
Lent is a Catholic tradition that starts right after the end of the Carnival week and ends 40 days later. During this period, the former original tradition required the believers to perform both fasting and abstinence. As a culmination of Lent, a celebration was established with the aim to commemorate the end of the fasting effort. This celebration, which has been kept alive in some Spanish territories such as Catalonia, was starring by the godfathers, who were in charge of giving to their respective godchildren a cake as a present. This cake received the name of “Mona”.
Although the 40-days-abstinence and non-eating period has absolutely been dissolved over time, the “Mona” is still a beloved tradition in Catalonia. So if you are in Barcelona on April 19 you will surely find amazing shops’ showcases full of amazing chocolate cakes and spectacular creations.
The traditional “Mona” consisted in a homely but simple cake and some real eggs on it, depending on the age of the child who was going to receive it (it had as many eggs as the children’s age). Nowadays, the cake has acquired all kind of shapes, sizes and tastes, and the eggs have been replaced by chocolate eggs or chocolate figures, usually representing cartoon characters like Disney heroes, puppies, princess, etc. The greatest pastry shops in Barcelona display enormous masterpieces full of imagination and complexity, showing their sculpture talent. Some of them are then kept untouched and displayed in the Museum of the Chocolate of Barcelona.
Definitely, this is a sweet day that invites you to take a hot chocolate or a piece of pie in some cafeteria and feel part of this wonderful tradition. Enjoy the “Mona”!