Do you know why on Sant Jordi’s day roses and books are given away ? We tell you the story!
The legend says that a big and frightening dragon had terrorized an entire town of Catalonia, a small town called Montblanc. He lived on the outskirts of the village, but his hunger was ravaging the population and their livestock, and people had to find a way to keep the Dragon away from the walls. They started giving him their sheeps, oxen and horses, untill they exhausted all their stocks, and then they had no choice but to sacrifice their population. Through a raffle and an innocent hand, the person who will be given the next morning to the dragon, among these people were also the king and the princess, and unfortunately one day was her who was chosen to be the sacrifice.
When the dragon was trying to eat the princess, suddenly appeared the brave and famous knight called Sant Jordi who nailed a spear to the beast, and from the blood that the dragon shed, was born a rose bush of red roses, and the gentleman gave the princess one of those red roses, so this is the legend of Sant Jordi, patron saint of Catalonia since 1456, and also from other municipalities and countries, so each April 23, it is customary to give a red rose to woman as a symbol of love.
It is established in 1930 coinciding with the April 23, the International Day of the Book, and this is why men and women interchange roses and books, one of the most beautiful and important traditions of Catalonia.
Saint Georges is all about culture, flowers, love and public participation. And just as Barcelona is an open, inclusive and participatory city, so too is Saint George. No other festival unites Barcelonans with their city as this saint’s day does.
What to see and do in Barcelona for Saint George
(1) Give roses and books, and if they are solidarity better!
Saint George is the festival of gestures in the form of books and roses for the ones we love most.
For Saint George you will see people walking with red roses (or any colour) on the street. Tradition dictates that on this date men (though anyone can do it) must give his beloved a rose. That is because according to legend St. George ("Jordi" in Catalan) killed saved a princess, killed a dragon and blood born one of these flowers. But if you're not in love / you not suffer, because friends, parents, relatives and co-workers also perpetuate the tradition.
Hence the tradition that men give to women a red rose, as a symbol of passion, with a pin
symbolizing fertility. They, in turn, rewarded them with a book.
Furthermore, if you want to be solidarity, get your rose at the entrance to Barcelona City Council. All money raised will go to non-profit organisations.
The entire city is plenty of roses in every colour, symbolising various moods and feelings towards people. Red is the symbol for love and admiration, and more red roses are sold than any other colour on this day.
(2) Glance and buy books
Indeed, during the Saint George's Day it is possible to see on the street almost as many bookstalls like roses. These stalls are crammed with people in search of the latest literary novelties, of that special book, a classic, a volume car given away or give away.
This is a day when you don't need to go to a bookshop to see books. There are thousands all around you, on every corner, every street and in every square.
This Catalan tradition dates from the start of the 20th century, when the booksellers belonging to the Gremi de Llibreters (Booksellers Guild) and the Cambra Oficial del Llibre (Official Chamber of Books) decided to commemorate 23 April because the writers William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Garcilaso de la Vega all died on that date. UNESCO declared this a global tradition in 1996, since when it has been International Book and Copyright Day. And what better way to celebrate than giving one to encourage reading?
(3) Stroll along the Ramblas, Paseo de Gracia, Rambla de Catalunya and Paseo San Juan
In Saint George’s Day you can’t forget to visit Las Ramblas. Yes, it will be crowded. You almost cannot walk or browse quietly. But is part of the experience.
Get carried away by the tide of hopeful people going down the street with his books and roses, they stop and enjoy the good weather and day. Saint George is not festive but nobody would say. There are so many people on the street and the atmosphere we breathe is so special that will catch you. Wander aimlessly, take your time and do not stress.
Also you can visit Paseo San Juan, if you want to get away from the city centre. This location would be especially dedicated to young audience and lovers of comics.
(4) Take advantage of the open day of cultural establishments
The International Book Day is also a regular open house in city institutions, museums and cultural nature equipment. Here are some of the highlights:
- Barcelona City Council: 0 to 20 hours can visit places like the chapel of Bon Consell, the Saló de Cròniques, the Saló de Cent or honor the Mayor 's office.
Behind its neoclassical facade, the City of Barcelona hidden gems like the historic Gothic Saló de Cent (fourteenth century). It is a unique place to visit at this time is an experience you will not forget. Since you are, come to the Hall of Chronicles, decorated with paintings by Josep Maria Sert. While the lobby and Gothic staircase of the building display works of Gargallo, Llimona, Subirachs, Marès, Miró and clear.
At the door, sale of solidarity roses. And in the adjacent Sala Ciutat , exhibition and sale of monographs on the Catalan capital.
- The Palace of the Generalitat - Take the opportunity to enter and enjoy the beauty of the staircase Marc Safont, Chapel flamboyant Gothic style first floor, the Saló de Saint George and the beautiful Patio de los Naranjos ( "Pati dels Tarongers"). Here the bookstalls are charities.
Do not miss at 12 and 18 hours of traditional folk music concert hearing the carillon. Needless nor come in, because music will fill the entire area.
- Temple of Holy Family: if you are called Jordi, Jordina, Georgina, George, Georgia you are fortunate because you entrance is free.
Catalonia’s Library, Athenian, History Museum of Catalonia, Archaeology Museum of
Catalonia, Modernist Saint Pau, Principal Theatre y Maritime Museum
(5) Get a book’s dedication of your favourite writer
You have to queue, but if you arrive with a little time, sure you get it. Furthermore, most writers make several stops route and city libraries. And there are only local authors. Not at all! Typically, each year hundreds of writers gathered in Barcelona for Saint George are taken to deal with your readers. You know that, whether you like best-sellers or not, surely your favourite writer will be in town.
(6) Do not forget to check the cultural agenda of the city
On April 23, all in Catalonia revolves around Saint George. But you can stroll and shop well, get involved in some of the cultural activities organized. There are photo contests, book readings aloud, concerts ... Just a little research.
We leave a clue: http://lameva.barcelona.cat/ca/santjordi/activitats
Sercotel hotels spread the Catalan tradition to its customers
If you've come this far you'll probably be one of them!
Join to the RAFFLE, good luck!
Enjoy you day in Barcelona and see you soon in our Hotels!
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