Sant Jordi, the Day of books and roses in Catalonia 2023

Sant Jordi, the Day of books and roses in Catalonia 2023

Crowded streets, flower and book stalls, couples celebrating love, the search for the best seller of the year, book signings... I'm sure you know what we're talking about! It is one of the most beloved and preferred traditions of the Catalans: Sant Jordi. And what a beautiful tradition we have in Catalonia! Although it is traditionally said that they give their girlfriend a rose and she gives her lover a book, the truth is that today it is about celebrating free love and literature day. But why on April 23 do we give away roses and books?

Well, as the Catalan legend says, in the town of Montblanc lived a dragon that kept the town in fear, devouring cattle and men. In order to contain it, it was popularly decided that by lottery an inhabitant of the town would be sacrificed and offered to the dragon in exchange for peace of mind for the town. One good day, or a bad day depending on how you look at it, it was the turn of the princess, who would have died at the hands of the dragon if the knight Saint George had not arrived in time to kill the beast. From the blood that flowed from the body killed and wounded by the sword, a rose was born that the knight gave to the princess. But beyond this fable, the fact is that the 23rd was the day the knight Jordi died, turned into a martyr for refusing to kill and persecute Christians and punished by beheading.

On the other hand, the origin of the festivity associated with literature is linked to a fair that the Barcelona Publishers and Booksellers Guild organized in favor of promoting reading during the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929, which was a complete success. The initiative decided to move to April 23, a date that coincides with the death of two great authors of universal literature: Shakespeare and Cervantes.

Do you want to know a curiosity? UNESCO declared April 23 World Book and Copyright Day thanks to the importance of the Catalan day of Sant Jordi.

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