Sant Jordi ‘s Day in Barcelona is a magical and special day for all its inhabitants. In this day the streets of Barcelona are filled with stands to buy roses and books. The main avenues of the city are the main protagonist of this celebration. It is very typical to stroll down the Paseo de Gracia and Las Ramblas since that day these streets are shown in their finery.
The Sant Jordi´s day, as it is known among Catalans, celebrated on April 23 and commemorates the death of this saint, patron saint of Catalonia. Traditionally, it is the day of love. Men give a red rose to their girlfriend and ladies present a book to their boyfriend.
The legend dates back to the middle Ages. A town called Montblanc, located in the heart of Catalonia, lived in fear of the presence of a Dragon. The beast had moved to the outskirts of town and infected the air and water with his stinky breath. Each day was closer to the walls of Montblanc. Each time he was hungrier, until its inhabitants had to sacrifice to satiate their livestock.
The inhabitants of Montblanc ran out of food to give to the Dragon, they had no choice but to sacrifice the inhabitants themselves. The method was to put the names of all inhabitants, as well as the king and his family in a pot and every day it was decided who would die the next morning. And one evening the Princess was chosen.
The day the princess went to the Dragon‘s lair to be devoured by him, a handsome knight riding a white horse appeared. When the terrible Dragon got approached the princess, the handsome gentleman thrust his sword into the neck of the beast. It is said that a rose bush grew immediately out of the Dragon´s blood and its branches sprouted red roses. The knight named Jordi gave one of those roses to Princesses.
23th of April is also the World Book Day as on this day two important characters of the world literature died: Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. In 1995, UNESCO declared that this day is the International Day of the Book and Copyright. So it is no surprise that book fairs can be found in any city. Besides, in the day of Sant Jordi it is used to promote literature through discounts, selling books on the street and books being autographed by the authors…
It’s a magical day in every way, along with a unique opportunity to meet Barcelona and its traditions.