23 Apr Sant Jordi: enjoy Barcelona local traditions
Sant Jordi, the rose and book festival
Barcelona has its own traditions and its own Valentine’s day. On April 23, the city celebrates Catalonia’s patron saint with books and roses. This local festival is called Sant Jordi, and it’s an exciting opportunity to enjoy a bit of Catalan culture.
For #cityjobbers leaving in Barcelona, this is their favourite local festivity. It means that the new spring sunshine is around and there is a celebration of flowers and culture. This year, streets might not look spectacular and full of stalls but there is still too much to enjoy from home, with online activities and e-flower shops.
#SantJordi is considered by the Catalans as the Lover’s Day. It coincides with the International Book Day, which is celebrated on April 23 to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. This date commemorates as well the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.
On Sant Jordi’s day, the tradition is that men give women roses and women give men books. But today, this ritual is much more open, and girls also receive books. The book-giver can be anybody, not necessarily your partner. You can also buy books and roses for your friends. Any book recommendations #cityjobbers?
During the festival, Las Ramblas are full of stalls with books in a lot of languages, of course, they are specialized in Catalan authors, to promote and defend the local language and culture. Maybe, it’s your chance to learn some Catalan!
Choose your rose
Did you know that depending on the colour, roses have different meanings? Choose yours:
▪ RED: love and admiration
▪ YELLOW: friendship
▪ WHITE: innocence
▪ ORANGE: passion and desire
▪ PINK: happiness
▪ RED AND WHITE: togetherness
We know that this year is going to be a different celebration, but let’s continue sharing it. You can check on this special edition Sant Jordi virtual map which are the flower shops that are open and provide delivery service in each neighbourhood of Barcelona.
We love that idea! #cityjobber, you can still send roses these digital days.
Florists are asking people to celebrate at home and keep the party spirit by puting the roses on the balconies.
The background to Sant Jordi
There are various versions of the story, but some facts always remain the same. Greek and a Latin versions can be traced to the 5th or 6th century. The addition of the dragon legend dates back to 11 century. It talks about Sant Jordi as a hero that saved a beautiful princess from a dragon that was terrorising the village of Montblanc (Tarragona), demanding human sacrifices. She was taken as the next offering by the dragon and Jordi rescued her.
He became one of the most popular saints in Christianity, venerated since Middle Ages. As the Patron Saint of Catalunya, his tale is well-known across Barcelona.
We can placed the feast association to books in the 1920s, when Vicent Clavel i Andrés (a writer from Valencia that was the director of a publishing house) suggested to organize a festival to promote books in Catalonia. They chose 7th October 1927 to make the event for the first time.
During the International Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1929, booksellers set up stalls in the streets to present their new publications and encourage reading. The initiative was so successful that it remains till today as an open air initiative to promote Catalan books, an unmissable event really loved by local people.
Guide to 2020 celebration
One of the best things about the Sant Jordi agenda is the Open day in public buildings. Museums, institutions and other venues of Barcelona open their doors free of charge. This year, for COVID19 lockdown, there are online open tours. Park Güell can be visited on Twitter and Instagram through a guided tour around the whole building designed by Antonio Gaudí. The collection of their bookstore is available at this web site.
You can go to virtual libraries and if you feel like, even participate in their digital activities. Follow #SantJordiXBM to stay connected to Biblioteques Municipals proposals. If you are more into quiz games, several museums of Catalonia are doing online trivia to test how much you know about local culture.
Fans of creative drama will be happy to navigate through the Instituto del Teatro with a good selection of the greatest Catalan plays. There is much more on the Archivo Audiovisual de las Artes Escénicas.
Hope you like our favourites to immerse yourself in Sant Jordi 2020 and enjoy the rose and book festival.
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