The Roses and Books Day
On April 23rd we celebrate “La Diada de Sant Jordi”. If you are in town, you will see that all of a sudden Barcelona is much more busy: there are people all around buying flowers and books. What’s going on? It’s the April 23 Holiday: St. George’s Day! for us, it is sort of a mix between your Valentine’s Day and a book fair.
Today you will discover how do we celebrate la Diada de Sant Jordi, how to take the most out of the day and blend in with the locals. Get ready for the fun!
5 things you absolutely need to do during “La Diada de Sant Jordi”:
Offer a red rose (or have one given to you!). The legend says that after the St. George kill the dragon, out of the blood of it was born a red rose and St. George gave it to the Princess as a symbol of his love. This is why today men are going to buy a rose for their wife, girlfriend or sweetheart. Actually, since we women love flowers, the tradition has also expanded to any other lady that they love: So often that’s buy roses for their daughters, bosses by them for their secretaries (without a second intention!), and even supermarkets give them away to their clients! If you’re a lady in Catalonia and on April 23rd you don’t get a flower, it’s quite disappointing!
Get a book. Since Shakespeare died on April 23rd, St. George’s day is also internationally considered the World Books Day. This is why, in exchange for their rose, ladies are supposed to buy a book to their man. But again, everyone wants to participate in this tradition too! Taking advantage of the discounts that stores offer that day, everyone usually buys at least one book for themselves, and often moms by books for their kids too. It is a very busy day for writers, who spent all day signing books for their fans. Here are some ideas for books to buy on World Books Day.
Have a walk down Rambla Catalunya and La Rambla. If you wish to get the best feel of the local atmosphere on the Dia de Sant Jordi, then I suggest that you start walking down from the top of Rambla Catalunya (from the crossing with Diagonal Avenue), and enjoy strolling past the hundreds of books stalls and rose vendors. If you need more, then keep walking down La Rambla. I suggest you do that in the morning, as in the afternoon after people are off from work, both streets get super crowded!
Buy some St. George’s bread. Bakers always take the opportunity to contribute to the party! And some years ago they created a special St. George’s bread which is made with cheese and sobrassada (a red Majorcan pork paté with paprika), creating the colors of the Catalan flag. It’s savory is not your thing, you can also buy a thing George cake with crème brûlée on top. Yummy!
Explore the City Center looking for St. George. St. George is present in our city the whole year round. Especially in the Old Town, what you can find sculptures of St. George decorating lots of churches, courtyards and medieval mansions, but also in modernist buildings of the Eixample district where St. George was used to show the owner’s love for Catalonia.
AND BONUS! The one thing I always do for La Diada de Sant Jordi:
Cacao Sampaka. I never miss a visit to my favorite chocolate store on April 23 holiday: they always have some special thing organized, for instance free samples of rose and chocolate shakes, or rose bonbons, or a “sexy chocolates package”. If you are a chocolate lover, you should definitely go, too (April 23 is a special day there, but any other day of the year is great!)
Go to the comments and tell us: Had you heard of this Roses & Books Day before?