The festival of Sant Jordi, known as the Diada of Sant Jordi, is a very famous festival in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia! It is celebrated on 23 April 2022, the day on which the patron saint died in 303. He is considered the patron saint of many places such as Bulgaria, England and Portugal. In Spain, he is the patron saint of Catalonia and also of Aragon.
Traditions of Sant Jordi’s Day
It should be noted that this day is also considered to be the day of lovers. Therefore, there is a tradition of giving a rose and a book. At first, the rose was intended for women and the book for men. But many men give a book as well as a rose. Normally, the rose should be red but this varies and you can even find multi-coloured roses!
Giving a rose is a distant tradition from the Middle Ages, while giving a book is a much more recent one: this initiative was started by Vincent Clavel, a writer and publisher from Valencia who lived in Barcelona. Since 1930, this day is also the International Book Day.
But why a rose?
According to legend, a dragon terrified the village of Montblanc. The inhabitants started to feed the dragon with their own animals so that it would not harm the inhabitants. As the animals in the village were not infinite, once there were only the villagers left to devour, they had the idea of organising a periodic draw. This draw involved all the villagers as well as the king and princess. Whoever was drawn would be devoured by the dragon.
Then came the day when the princess was drawn. As she was about to be eaten by the dragon, a knight on horseback fought with the dragon. After a long battle, the knight defeated the dragon with his lance. Then the spear pierced the dragon, its blood gushed out and from it a rose bush sprang up from which a rose sprouted. The knight offered this rose to the princess.
How is it celebrated?
It has become a tradition for writers to sign their books on International Book Day. That’s why you will find stands with writers and their books for you to sign at several places.
Secondly, the promotion of books is also in the spotlight. For this reason you will find public readings organised. For children, there are puppet shows that tell the story of the evil dragon!
Are you convinced? Don’t hesitate to come and see the Sant Jordi Festival in Barcelona and rent bikes at the same time!