HEIRESSES AND HEIRS JOIN HANDS TO DEFEND A CUSTOM CONSIDERED ARCHAIC AND DEPLORABLE FOR WOMEN BY SOME FEMINIST ORGANIZATIONS.
For one weekend, the candidates, young people between 16 and 23 years old, single and in traditional Catalan dress- a protocol requirement -
participate in the national competition of heirs and heiresses that takes place in Peralada, Catalonia. The elected women and men will represent
their municipality for a year at all festive events in order to give more visibility to this tradition that today's society considers obsolete.
The candidates to the election must submit to an examination. The knowledge of Catalan culture, history and traditions and the ability to express
themselves orally and in writing will be evaluated by a popular jury. Afterwards, all participants will go to the gala dinner where they
will be called to parade to close the evening.
The next day, in a festive atmosphere, the candidates, heirs and heiresses accompanied by their families will go to the town hall square where the proclamation of the elected will take place.
Practiced since the middle of the twentieth century, the contest of the heiress of Catalonia was very marked by the morality in force imposed by Franco.
The physical beauty and moral virtues, such as the dedication to the home and family of the candidate was subject to evaluation.
Nowadays, the tradition is still not without controversy. Pressure from the Catalan Women's Institute and feminist municipalities has forced the organization of the Catalan Traditions Foment, which promotes the event, to rethink the role of the heiress.
Far from feeling rooted in the past and being considered as purely festive ornaments,
the heiresses affirm that they have an important role to play with the youth in today's society.