Books & Roses
20 april, 2015
What to books, dragons and roses have in common?
They are all part of the St Jordi celebration which is held in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia on the 23rd of April each year.
Most of us are familiar with the fairy tale of the brave knight who kills a dragon to rescue the beautiful princess. Well, according to Catalan legend this takes place in a small village outside of Barcelona and the heroic knight St Jordi (St George in English) is the patron saint of Catalonia.
As legend tells it a drop of the dragon's blood spilt on the ground and from it sprung a beautiful red rose. Ever since the middle ages this day has also been Catalonia's version of Valentine's Day and it is customary to give roses to friends and loved-ones on this day.
In 1923 a clever bookseller started to promote this holiday as a way to commemorate William Shakespear and the Spanish author Miguel Cervantes who both died on the 23rd of April in 1616. Barcelona is the publishing capital of Spain and was quick to adopt this new tradition and today people exchange gifts of both roses and books on Diada de St Jordi.
In 1995 UNESCO declared the 23rd of April World Book & Copyright Day .
There are many great festivals taking place in Barcelona each year but this is one of Harmoni´s favourites. What could be better than a day of celebrating love, books and roses!?