The Bride of Santa Maria del Mar
The following legend recounts the tale of a young woman who died on her wedding day.
The bride’s funeral took place in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar and her family decided to bury her dressed in her wedding dress and best jewellery. When the ceremony was over, family and friends returned to their homes, leaving the coffin in the empty church overnight.
Later that night, two thieves broke into the church to steal the young bride’s jewels. Their plans were thwarted when they hurriedly ripped the earrings from her ears, tearing the lobes right off. The dead bride let out a scream, causing the thieves to panic and flee the crime scene. Revived by the pain, she returned home where, believing she was a ghost, her terrified family refused to let her in.
Fortunately, the girl’s fiancée realised that she was alive and called a doctor who concluded that she had suffered a case of cataplexy. Despite the doctor’s diagnosis, superstitious neighbours were convinced that the dead bride had been resurrected during the night.
The Skull Underneath
El Pont Del Bisbe
The covered stone bridge which spans Carrer del Bisbe is one of the most photographed sights in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
The bridge is much newer than the adjoining buildings and was built in 1929 by Rubió I Bellver, who planned to beautify the area surrounding Barcelona Cathedral by tearing down all non-Gothic buildings.
Even though it is less than a century old, the elaborate Gothic style bridge is associated with several legends and superstitions, all of which are connected to the gruesome skull and dagger motif on its underside.
Some say that the skull was the architect’s way of expressing his displeasure after his plan was rejected. Others have even suggested that, rather than being a stone carving, it is, in fact, a real human skull!
Another legend says that if the dagger that traverses the skull is ever removed, Barcelona will be destroyed.
On a more positive note. Another legend states that if you make a wish while walking backwards under the bridge and looking directly at the skull, then your wish will come true.
The Nose Man
The Nose Man (L’Home dels Nassos) is a mythical figure from Catalan folklore with as many noses as there are days left in the year. On the first of January, he has 365 noses which he then loses, one per day, as the year advances.
During most of the year, the nose man hides away and only comes out on the 31st of December.
On the morning of New Year’s Eve, parents tell their children to be on the lookout for a man with as many noses as there are days left in the year. The idea being that their excited youngsters will expect to see a man with hundreds of noses.
The game is a play on words based on the fact that there’s only one day left in the year, and any passer-by could potentially be The Nose Man.
In Barcelona, on December 31st, L’Home dels Nassos and his entourage appear in locations throughout the city.