“La Diada de Sant Jordi” is Saint George’s Day in Barcelona and Catalunya. St. George is the patron saint of Catalonia and he is celebrated on 23rd April every year to commerate his death on that day in the year 303. In 2011 Sant Jordi’s day is during Easter week in Barcelona. St. George’s day is the most romantic day of the year in Barcelona and Catalunya, and is celebrated with a Catalan tradition similar to Valentine’s day, but inspired by the legend of St. George. St George slew the dragon, saved the lovely princess and gave her a red rose plucked from a rose bush that sprouted from the dragons red blood and so on Sant Jordi’s day the men give their sweethears a red rose.
The Catalan version of ST Georgelegend goes like this:
“Once upon a time, a terrible dragon terrorised the inhabitants of a small village in Catalonia called Montblanc. The dragon wrecked havoc among the population and devoured the animals put out to pasture until there were none left. To calm the dragon’s anger, the inhabitants of the village decided to sacrifice one person every day, chosen by drawing lots, and to offer that person to the dragon as a sign of their good will. “However, one, dark day, the person chosen to be sacrificed was the king’s daughter. Just when she was about to be swallowed up by the dragon, a courageous knight appeared and confronted the evil beast. This was Saint George (Sant Jordi in Catalan). He thrust his lance into the dragon and, out of the blood that spurted forth, there grew a red rose bush. Since then, it has been the custom in Catalonia to present a rose to your loved one. Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia, as well as England and other countries, became the symbol of Catalonia during the Renaixença, a nineteenth century political and cultural movement that sought to reclaim the symbols of Catalan identity.”
In Barcelona and Catalonia on 23rd April Sant Jordi’s day has become a day of romance similar to Valentine’s day when the men get to be knights for a day and present their own Princess of Barcelona with a red rose.
Every girl hopes for a rose on Sant Jordi’s day and it has become a nice custom to give roses at work and to friends, even though the prices are several hundred percent above normal prices rose prices.
In 1923 the tradition of rose giving was expanded to include the ladies giving the men a book on Sant Jordi’s day, which is how “World Book Day” started. The 23rd April also is the anniversary of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes’ death.
About 6 million roses are sold on Sant Jordi with 20% from Catalunya and 80% imported. A Sant Jordi tradition in Barcelona is to take a stroll on La Rambla, where you will find many books stalls and flower stands selling roses.
The Luxury Team wishes you a very happy Sant Jordi’s day!