We talked about the Easter in Catalonia in the previous post, and today it is the turn of the most romantic day of the year in the Catalan culture: Sant Jordi’s Day. Besides commemorating the patron saint of Catalonia, Saint George (called “Jordi” in Catalan), the 23rd of April is also the day of lovers, when people from all ages celebrate the love they share. Couples, fathers and daughters, sons and mothers, grandparents and grandchildren and close friends, give each other two beautiful presents as a symbol of their feelings: a rose and a book.
This festivity was born from a beautiful legend about a scary dragon that constantly attacked a kingdom by murdering their people. Trying to find a solution, the king decided to give to the monster a single person’s life each time in order to save more innocent victims. Unfortunately, the first victim was his own daughter, so the princess was given in sacrifice of the kingdom. In that point, Saint Jordi appears in the story, facing the dragon and achieving to kill it finally, freeing the lady. From the dragon’s red bold and as a symbol of the love between Jordi and the princess, a rose was bloomed. This is why this flower keeps being the present that men give to their women this day. In return, women buy a book to the men of their life, reminding of the legend behind the Catalonia’s patron saint and joining this way, the International Book’s Day celebration.
In Barcelona, the great architect Antoni Gaudí wanted to express his own vision of the legend in the famous Casa Batlló, a full-of-fantasy building placed in Passeig de Gràcia. The roof of the building seems to be the skin of the dragon and the balconies, the bones of its innocent victims. At the upper floor, there is the “balcony of the princess”, with a lovely rose shape. If you want to find out more about the secrets behind the Casa Batlló, check the available tours.
If you have the chance to visit Barcelona the 23rd of April, you will find the city transformed into a giant garden of roses and books. Stalls are everywhere, from its main avenues to its tinniest streets, squares and corners, offering either roses or books to people who calmly and lovely enjoy the beauty of this romantic day.
As well as live music and animation, you will surely find writers willing to sign their novels to those who have just bought it in a book shop or in one of the stalls. It is a great opportunity for them to promote their last work publicly and talk to their readers in person.
In case you are spending some great days in Barcelona during the Sant Jordi’s festivity, don’t miss to buy to your woman a beautiful rose, or a book to your beloved man. Happy Sant Jordi’s Day!