Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dia de Sant Jordi

23. april is a special day in Barcelona (/Catalunya). It’s like Cataluya’s own Valentines Day!
So what’s this about? Well, it’s about Saint George/Jorge/Jordi (English/ Spanish/ Catalan.) Apparently a big romantic! San Jordi is also the patron saint of Catalunya. 

But what is so special you might wonder. And that’s what I am here to tell you. This day the city overflows with roses and books. Women receive a rose from their special someone/family/friends, and men receive a book from their special someone/family/friends.

And if I said Sunday at the Fira de la Terra was crowded, well, then this was just insane. The streets in the city centre were completely full of people, everywhere. Here, Las Ramblas:

There were people selling roses everywhere, and book-stands all over the place as well as stands where authors came to sign their books. The queue for Carlos Ruiz Zafón, famous author of “Shadow of the wind” and other sucsessful books went through several blocks! A teeny bit chaotic you could say.

Do you like the smell of roses? Well, then you would like this day. The wonderful soft smell of roses was hanging in the air in the centre of Barcelona. If I didn't love the crowds, I loved the smell and the positive, happy atmosphere! 

I heard on the radio Monday morning that they were expecting to sell about 6 million roses for Día de Sant Jordi. The roses (symbol of passion) has to be accompanied by a ribbon with the catalan colours (Stipes in yellow and red, symbol of Catalunya) and a spike of wheat (symbol of fertility). 

I don’t know how many books were sold, but an other year about 400 000 were sold on this day, which is half of the yearly book-sale in Catalunya!

How did this tradition originate? It’s said that the tradition of the roses goes way back, to the 15th century. Women used to attend the official mass at the Capilla de Sant Jordi on April 23 in the Palacio de la Generalitat de Catalunya and they were given a rose. 

The book thing is newer however. Apparently a bookshop started to promote this special day in 1923 to honour two great men of literature: Miguel Cervantes and William Sharespeare who both deceased on april 23, in 1616. Barcelona is said to be the publishing capital of the Spanish-speaking world and they quickly adopted this new punch of love and literacy. I think it's a nice tradition!


  1. I have actually read about this and I really hope to be in Barcelona to celebrate it one day!

    1. How nice, I had never heard about it but I think it's a lovely tradition!

  2. I love this tradition! I've always agreed that libraries and gardens are all you need. How beautiful! I love the sentiments behind the rose, the ribbons and the wheat. I really really really need to convince my husband to move to Spain! Did you get a rose my lovely?