St. George’s Day in Catalonia

St. George’s Day. (Sant Jordi)
In this festival, Catalonia commemorates the death of this saint on April 23, 303.

But beyond its religious origins, Sant Jordi in Catalonia today has an even broader and deeper meaning.
The date of Sant Jordi, the date of literature.

On April 23, 1616, the death of two great writers: Cervantes and Shakespeare. This fact made the date chosen to celebrate the day of the book in 1930. Sant Jordi means for many writers a milestone in their career. Being this date very marked, the acts of presentations, signatures or launching of new books multiply. It is the day with the highest sales of books in Catalonia and its influence ends up reverberating throughout the country, having a great impact as the national book day of Catalonia.
In addition, it is the patron saint of countries such as Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, England or Portugal. In Spain he is one of the autonomous communities of Aragon and Catalonia. He is also the universal patron saint of Scouts, inspired by the fact that this saint was the patron saint of cavalry in England.
The legend of Sant Jordi and the dragon is common to almost all of Europe, and many countries such as England, Portugal or Greece have taken it as their own.

In 1995 Unesco proclaimed, through Resolution 3.18 approved by the General Conference at its 28th session, 3 on April 23 as World Book Day.

Roses and Sant Jordi
As if the day of the book was not enough, the Sant Jordi day is the equivalent in Catalonia of the day of lovers in other places. There is a conception of a more natural day for lovers, without the artifices or consumerism of Valentine’s Day. Catalans feel it more intimate, more theirs.
There is evidence of the custom of giving roses this day since the 17th century, but it is believed to be much earlier, since a fair of roses was already held in Barcelona in the 15th century. That is why every April 23, the date of Sant Jordi, the city is full of roses.

Today, it is traditional in Catalonia for couples to give each other roses and books. Originally roses were for girls and books for boys. Many women and men try to turn tradition and modernize it by reversing roles, that is, boys and girls give each other roses and books.

Roses and Catalan culture
The Sant Jordi dyad has a vindictive aspect of Catalan culture, and many balconies are adorned with the senyera, esteladas (Catalonian flag)or other Catalan symbols.

Throughout Catalonia the atmosphere is festive and the streets are filled with small stalls where roses and books are sold. You can breathe the party in the main streets of any neighborhood, in any town or municipality.

Mont Blanc medieval week
In Catalonia, tradition places the town where the legend developed in the town of Montblanc. Today the Montblanc Medieval Setmana is celebrated. In it, along with other acts, it is represented how the Knight killed the Dragon that had the capital of the Conca de Barberà tyrannized.
In the old city walls there is still a portal known as Portal de Sant Jordi, where the knight is said to have killed the beast.
It is a must for culture lovers.

Happy Sant Jordi’s Day!
Sant Jordi, finally, marks the beginning of spring. So it is time to go outside for a walk and enjoy the good weather.
The sale of books and roses, in addition to the business and the cultural demand, becomes a popular celebration in which other Catalan cultural representations (sardanas, castells, exhibitions …) intermingle that make the party more party than never.

Iberinbound, incoming travel agency in Barcelona, specialized in Group tours if they are Educational, Students, Leisure , ad-hoc groups, Shorex, MICE. Relaxing on the beach is not everybody´s favourite holiday activity, as some rather prefer spending their time with traditional and folkloric festivals full of color and perfume