I cannot believe it has been so long since I have posted anything on here, I am sorry! The last weeks have just been quite busy with work and lovely visits from my family.
Now, back to Sant Jordi. The ones who know me a bit better, know that my boyfriend’s name is Jordi. But no, this is not a post about him in particular. Last Thursday, the 23rd of April, was a special day in Catalonia. It’s the day of Saint Jordi (or George, in English). Sant Jordi is the Saint protector of Catalonia and behind this day there is also a legend in which Jordi plays the main role: Hundreds of years ago there was a kingdom that was threatened by a dragon for a long time. To keep the dragon calm the people used to give him two sheep every day. Though, at some moment there were no sheep left to offer him and they decided to start sacrificing young girls. One day, it was the turn of the king’s daughter. When the princess was on her way to the dragon, she met Jordi, a Roman soldier. He insisted to stay with her till the dragon came and he was strong and brave enough to kill him with his sword. The Catalan legend says that a rose grew out of the blood of the dragon and Jordi gave this rose to the princess.
Now, how is this day celebrated in Catalonia? Well, on April 23rd you will find people selling books and roses on every streetcorner and the Catalan flag, the one with the red and yellow stripes, will be attached to many balconies. The tradition is that the man buys a rose for his loved one, this could also be his sister, mum or grandma, and the girl gives a book in return. But “Why a book?” you might think. Well, besides being the day of Sant Jordi, this day is also the International day of the Book, because the 23rd of April is the anniversary of Cervantes’ death in 1616 (in the Gregorian calendar) and in addition, another great author, William Shakespeare died on the same day in the Julian calendar (May 3rd in the Gregorian calendar).
If you go to Barcelona during Sant Jordi, without know that it is a special day, you will probably be pretty surprised. I think it is one of the most crowded days of the year. There are thousands of people walking around and Las Ramblas is full of stands with books and roses. Even though it is super crowded, the atmosphere is really nice and you will see girls with a rose (or roses) everywhere. I was lucky enough to get one from my own saint, too.