St. George’s Day in Barcelona

Roses
Roses

Roses

La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day), also known as El Dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El Dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book) is a Catalan holiday held on 23 April, with similarities to Valentine’s Day and some unique twists that reflect the antiquity of the celebrations. The main event is the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues. Historically, men gave women roses, and women gave men a book to celebrate the occasion — “a rose for love and a book forever.” In modern times, the mutual exchange of books is also customary. Roses have been associated with this day since medieval times, but the giving of books is a more recent tradition originating in 1923, when a bookseller started to promote the holiday as a way to commemorate the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on 23 April 1616. Barcelona is the publishing capital of both Catalan and Spanish languages and the combination of love and literacy was quickly adopted.

La Rambla. St. George's Day

La Rambla. St. George’s Day

In Barcelona’s most visited street, La Rambla, and all over Catalonia, thousands of stands of roses and makeshift bookstalls are set up for the occasion. By the end of the day, some four million roses and 800,000 books will have been purchased. Most women will carry a rose in hand, and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place on this occasion.

Roses

Roses

Books. St. George's Day

Books. St. George’s Day

The sardana, the national dance of Catalonia, is performed throughout the day in the Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona. Many book stores and cafes host readings by authors (including 24-hour marathon readings of different classics of Catalan literature or Spanish literature). Street performers and musicians in public squares add to the day’s atmosphere.

Bookstore. La Rambla. St. George's Day

Bookstore. La Rambla. St. George’s Day

Bookstore. La Rambla. St. George's Day

Bookstore. La Rambla. St. George’s Day

Women with her Rose

Women with her Rose

23 April is also one of only three days a year when the Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona’s principal government building, is open to the public. The interior is decorated with roses to honour Saint George.

Bringing the rose to his girl

Bringing the rose to his girl

A girl with her rose

A girl with her rose

A bookseller advising customers

A bookseller advising customers

23 April is also one of only three days a year when the Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona’s principal government building, is open to the public. The interior is decorated with roses to honour Saint George.

More info: Wikipedia

Rose

Rose

4 Comments on “St. George’s Day in Barcelona

  1. What a festival, and a good whack in the eye to the naysayers who say the printed word is dead. Give me a good printed volume any day. Do love all these blogs though, will always make an exception there.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on An Unorganized Mind/Musings and Memories with Photos *To view the complete Menu: Click on menu then use the down arrow to scroll down the Menu Categories. and commented:
    This is a very enlightening, educational post about a holiday in Catalan, near Barcelona (I think). I’ve never heard of Catalan but the title of the blog post caught my eye since I live near St George, UT and my family roots grow abundantly in this area. I enjoyed reading about something new, a new place with a “new” (to me) tradition associated with Roses and Books. What could be better than that!

    Like

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