Apr 23

Barcelona celebrates Sant Jordi Feast on 23rd April

Sant Jordi, day of the book and the rose 

Rose and literacy as a metaphor for love

This 23th of April, Barcelona, as the rest of Catalonia, will celebrate the death of Sant Jordi, the Patron Saint of the province. A catalan custom that, most of the time, it is considered as the little brother of Valentine’s day as the main event is that the sweethearts exchange presents in this occasion: traditionally, a rose is offered to the women and a book to the men.

The celebration of Sant Jordi comes from an old popular legend. In Montblanc a dragon was living in a castle, terrorizing the village that each day was drawing lots for a young girl to feed the beast. But one day, the daughter of the king was chosen and, on her way to the dragon, she met Sant Jordi who saved her by killing the dragon. In place of its heart sprang up a rose that the hero offered to the princess. And the story says that, in return, she offered a book to the knight to thank him.

The day of the rose

Each day of Sant Jordi, millions of roses are sold in Catalonia and all the girls are walking around with one of them in the hand! This year, the “star” is named Freedom, a rose coming from Colombia and Ecuador, which will at the top of the flower sales. It is one of the roses of the best quality which differs by its resistance, its duration and by the size of its petals.

The day of the book

“A rose for love and a book forever”. Indeed, this day also celebrates the World Book Day (officially adopted by the UNESCO in reference to the day of Sant Jordi) as the 23th of April commemorates the death of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare (who both died the 23th of April 1916). It represents an important meeting for editors, authors, publishers who get the opportunity to meet their public through public readings or book-signing sessions.

What to do in Barcelona?

Barcelona, the publishing capital of Catalonia, and its Ramblas transform themselves in a giant market of books and flowers. It can be a real pleasure to join the Catalans through the thousand of stands of rose and of makeshift bookstalls.

It is a good opportunity to discover more about traditions such as the Sardana, the typical Catalan Dance or to visit the principal government building, the Palau de la Generalitat or the City Hall which are opened to the public during this day. Musician, comedians, writers and other performers will also invade public squares and the bars.

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