THE DAY OF THE BOOKS, ROSES AND LOVE
Sant Jordi’s day is celebrated each year on 23rd April. It’s the most romantic day of the year in Barcelona city, a Catalonia’s version of Valentine’s Day. Sant Jordi is the Catalan name of St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia. Also known as the Lovers day, it’s a one day festival of roses, books and romance.
April 23rd was the day of St. Jordi’s death in year 303 AD. The legend says he killed a dragon and saved the princess. Then he picked the rose for her from the rose bush that had sprouted on the exact spot where the dragon’s blood had spilled. The event of the day is the exchange of the gifts. According to the tradition men should give a rose to women, and women a book to men.
That day Barcelona city is full of books and roses. There are bookstalls, book markets and flower stands all over the city, especially on the Barcelona Ramblas Street. By the end of the day, over four million roses and 400,000 books are sold. Love is definitely in the air as it’s really difficult to see a woman without a flower, or a man walking without a book.
But even if you don’t have that special one to kiss and cuddle on a park bench, you can watch the dancing of Sardana (Catalonia’s national dance) performed in the Plaça Sant Jaume throughout the day, or attend various book readings held in numerous bookstores and cafés. There are also street performers and musicians making beautiful, romantic ambiance in almost every public square.
You can see the cult of St. Jordi at many Barcelona tourist attractions. For example, the Gaudí’s Casa Batlló has a roof that resembles the dragon. If you are visiting Barcelona on St. Jordi’s day, don’t forget to express your romantic side, buy a rose or a book for your significant other.