Today is the day that men in Catalunya give their lover a rose and women give men a book. The festival Sant Jordi 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 one day festival celebrated in Catalunya on the 23rd April each year.
Inspired by the legend of Saint Jordi the patron saint of Catalunya. The legend tells the story of Sant Jordi who slew a dragon to protect a princess. The princess was to be sacrificed to the dragon that terrorised the local population. A rose bush immediately sprouted where the dragon’s blood seeped into the earth, sant Jordi plucked a red rose and presented it to the princess.
Rose stalls are a key feature of Sant Jordi, when around 6 million roses are sold.
In 1923 the tradition of rose giving was expanded to include the ladies giving the men a book. The 23rd April is the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes who both died in 1616. This is how the international ‘World Book Day’ started. In Catalunya of all the books bought throughout the year, 1 in 10 are bought on St Jordi’s day.
A big thank you to Mr Stephen Berrells for supplying the following images of today’s celebrations outside the library in Canet de Mar, El Maresme, Barcelona.