Every April, Barcelona is showered in roses and romance takes over the city. Why, you ask? Because it’s the celebration of Sant Jordi, of course! Diada de Sant Jordi, or Sant Jordi Day, is celebrated in Catalonia on April 23rd every year, which coincides with the Día del Libro in the rest of Spain. On this special day, Barcelona comes alive with magic and romance. What’s the history and importance of this special day? Read on to find out!
The legend of Sant Jordi, or St. George, is that many years ago in a small village in Catalonia, there was a terrible dragon with insatiable hunger. The townspeople sacrificed their animals until there were none left, and then the dragon began to eat the villagers one by one. Finally, even the king and his family weren’t safe from the wrath of the dragon. The dragon came for the princess, the king’s daughter. However, before she could be eaten, she was saved by the brave Sant Jordi. Sant Jordi slayed the dragon and from the blood grew a rosebush. Sant Jordi gave a rose to the princess, thus beginning the tradition of the single rose to mark this day.
Today, the legend of Sant Jordi lives on in Barcelona. Casa Batlló, one of the most recognizable buildings in Barcelona, was inspired by this story and can be found throughout its architecture. To honor the legend of Sant Jordi, which is a large part of Catalan folklore, the romantic tradition is kept alive every April 23rd. Men give their loved one a single rose, and in return women present their partner with a book. The book ties in the Día del Libro, which is celebrated all over the world on the same date. On the Dia de Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the whole city is covered in roses, flower stalls, and book stands that pop up everywhere. It’s by far the most beautiful and romantic day in all of Catalonia!
What to do in Barcelona
The weekend before Sant Jordi and on the actual day, there are many events and activities happening to experience. On Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the most beautiful thing to see is Casa Batlló, which is draped in roses for the day.
Throughout the city center, especially on Passeig Sant Joan, Passeig de Gràcia, and Las Ramblas, kiosks are everywhere where you can buy books and flowers for your special someone. Additionally, you can hears chats and talks from authors from all over the world in these same spots. While the majority of the authors are Spanish or Catalan, writers travel from all over to speak to the public. Each district also celebrates Sant Jordi in its own way, with activities for the whole family to take part in.
The most important thing about Sant Jordi is that you celebrate it with your loved one, as the ambiance is comparable to Valentine’s Day. There’s no shortage of things to see and do on Sant Jordi in Barcelona, so enjoy this romantic day with someone special!
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