If you're a die-hard fan of FC Barcelona, you probably call yourself a "culé," but do you know the meaning of the term? Keep reading while we get into the history and etymology of where culé comes from, and what it means to be a true culé.
What's the meaning of "culé" in Barcelona?
The meaning of the term culé, which comes from the Catalan “cul,” meaning “buttocks,” dates back to FC Barça's founding on Nov. 29, 1899.
Back then, before the Les Corts Stadium opened in 1922, and way before the current Camp Nou took its place in 1957, the club was playing out of a very simple, barebones stadium that couldn't accommodate all of the fans who wanted to stick around to watch the matches.
As a result, FC Barça supporters would line up against the stadium wall and perch against it to watch the games, showing outsiders and passerbys their backs and butts, essentially.
Anecdotally, the fact that fans' backsides were the only parts of them that could be seen in these matches is what led the club's supporters to become known as "culés," even after FC Barça began to play in stadiums large enough they could accommodate all interested viewers.
Even as long ago as 1922, when FC Barça moved to Les Corts Stadium, which could seat up to 30,000, the original meaning of culé became technically outmoded, but it didn't stop avid fans from referring to themselves and other die-hards by the name.
Les Corts Stadium was demolished in 1966 and the club had already moved to Camp Nou, FC Barça's current home, but the nickname for Barça fans never died down. In fact, if FC Barça had never played out of such a small stadium and had always been able to seat its big audience, the term for fans of the club might never have been invented.
What does it mean to be a true "culé"?
If you're a true FC Barça culé, you know the love for the team doesn't start and stop at the beginning or end of a match. Rather, being a true culé goes beyond the soccer (excuse us, football) aspect.
On Reddit, culés agree that true Barça fandom goes beyond games.
A culé is "someone who can spot the little things that make our players great," writes one fan, "someone who understands the significance of the history of our club and why it means so much to Catalonians and Spaniards alike, someone who bleeds blaugrana."
Blaugrana, of course, refers to "blau" (blue, in Catalan) and "grana" (red, in Catalan), which denotes the colors of FC Barça's jerseys.
Most culés agree on one thing: "Barça is an emotion." "It's also entrenched in Catalan culture and history," explains another devoted fan. "I think you are a culé if you feel all those things. The love, passion, and dedication. Going through all the ups and downs and standing by Barcelona. There's no checklist of things you must be or do," they continue.
In short, being a culé "is a feeling, an emotion."