23th April: Sant Jordi (Saint George)
The 23th of April approaches, and isn’t a normal day: is Sant Jordi (Saint George), a very special day in Catalonia, as well as the ‘World Book Day’ in the rest of the world.
For the people who isn’t from Catalonia and don’t know Sant Jordi and its beautiful tradition, here you have a little explanation about this festivity 🙂
In mid fifteenth-century, the 23th of April, Catalonia celebrate ‘La Diada de Sant Jordi’ (The Day of Saint George). Sant Jordi, patriarch of Catalonia since 1094, is for catalans the protector hero who beat the dragon and saved the princess, sign of the victory over evil.
Over the years, has established as a emotive and traditional festivity. On this special day, the Lovers exchanges a rose and a book. In this celebration we feel human values such as love, culture and patriotism.
The squares and streets of all cities of Catalonia, for a day, become flooded of books and roses which are given to our loved one, and we can find children and adults enjoying of the nice ambient. A thousand bookstalls, full of people around eyeing the books, thinking about which one they’ll choose for their loved one; or children, boys or men smelling roses to choose the one which smells better for their princess.
For this reason, Sant Jordi is also the patriarch of the lovers, subtracting prominence to Sant Valentin (Saint Valentine’s Day), although many catalans celebrate both celebrations. Because of be such a wonderful day and at the same time so patriotic, the huge majority of people who live in Catalonia follow the tradition: The man gives a red rose with an ear of wheat, and the woman gives a book to their man.
The reason because the present of the man is a red rose and an ear of wheat, following the tradition, is:
- A single flower, symbolize the exclusivity of love from the lover.
- The red color of rose, symbolize passion.
- The ear of wheat, symbolize fertility.
By other hand, is important to note that the 23th of April matches too with an other special day. In 1995, UNESCO declared it as the ‘World Book Day’, since died in that date Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Josep Pla.
The legend of Sant Jordi, the dragon and the princess it isn’t just part of Catalonia, this tradition has been expanding for almost all Europe, and many countries like England, Portugal or Greece has adopted it like theirs.
In Montblanc, Catalonia, that following the tradition is where Sant Jordi rescued the princess from the evil dragon, nowadays they celebrates the ‘Medieval Week of Montblanc’. There, they represent how the Saint beat the dragon who had bullied the capital of Conca de Barberà. In the old walls of the city nowadays there is a gate known as ‘Gate of Sant Jordi’, that according to tradition, is where the knight came after killing the dragon.
Hope you have learned something about this wonderful tradition, and come to visit some city of Catalonia in 23th of April and feel the good vibes! 🙂