Roses, books and lovers: Barcelona is full of them on 23 April. In Catalonia the World Book Day becomes an especially romantic festivity. The people in Catalonia celebrate the day of their patron saint, Sant Jordi, with a curious tradition.
In spring you will be able to take part in one of the most original celebrations in Catalonia – Sant Jordi. It is a very traditional festivity that combines culture and romanticism. That day, on 23 April, according to tradition couples exchange gifts: a book for the men and a rose for the women. Book and flower stalls are set up along the streets of Barcelona. They fill will people walking around stalls, looking for a gift for their beloved, and for their family and friends, too. You will be able to find the latest publications, see well-known artists signing copies of their books, and of course, smell the scent of the roses.
This curious festival comes from a mixture of traditions from different periods. It coincides, on one hand, with the fact that Sant Jordi has been the patron saint of Catalonia since the 15th century; on the other hand, it comes from the famous legend of St George and the dragon and the old medieval tradition of visiting the Chapel of Sant Jordi in the Government Palace, where a rose fair or “lovers” fair used to take place. This is why Sant Jordi is also the patron saint of lovers in Catalonia. This is a good day to see the Government Palace because it is an open day for visits. In the noble gallery inside, you will be able to buy roses, of course, because several charity stalls are set up there. There is also a traditional carillon concert that day. The institutional activities also include the official mass in the Chapel of Sant Jordi and the blessing of roses in the Gothic courtyard in the building.