Thursday, April 24, 2008

yesterday was St George's Day

This is the rose I got yesterday evening from Mr Mar.

Since the 15th century there has been the tradition of giving roses on April 23rd in Catalonia. At the same time, Saint George/ Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia, officially since 1456. More about the rose and the legend here.

In 1926 Spain established April 23rd as the 'Dia del Llibre' (Book Day) to commemorate the death of Cervantes, imitating England, where the same day was also celebrated because it coincided with the date of the death of Shakespeare. In 1996 UNESCO suggested the celebration of an international day, since then April 23d has been known as World Book and Copyright Day.

This means that with the medieval traditions plus the Book Day celebration, Saint George's Day has become a very popular festive day when book and rose stalls, and, above all, floods of people (see picture below!) take over the streets of all Catalan towns and villages. The celebration could not be simpler: the ritual consists of going for a walk and buying a rose, a book or both to give to loved ones, family members and friends. Traditionally it has been a rose for the ladies, a book for the gents. Although it is not a public holiday, the day and the essential walk fill the streets and squares, making it a unique national festival celebrated on a working day. Known writers also participate by signing their books.

I wasn't downtown but online newspapers published the following picture ... you get the idea of how busy Barcelona was! (copyright: EFE/Xavier Bertral)

copyright: EFE/Xavier Bertral

I am not sure but the red balloons could be from Manchester United fans, as in addition to the local celebrations, there was an important Champions League football game yesterday, which I partially watched (TV was on and I passed by!) but it was an uneventful Manchester 0:Barcelona 0.


  1. I didn't know that ! I only heard about the St.Georges in the UK. Mr. Gattino of course remembers that day because his father's name was Giorgio !
    I also have a fixed place for my glasses, hrrmm !

  2. Beauuuuutiful rose! What book did you present to Mr. Mar? (just curious) I DO believe that little celebration is a perfect one! Roses and books - two of my very favorite things!!!

    Football isn't Futbol in Spain? I keep wondering why it can't just be SOCCER everywhere! Orrrrr why WE don't call it football - and call Football - something else entirely!

    It's a crazy world we live in...

  3. That's a lovely tradition; I'd prefer the books to the roses....

  4. wow! a 0 to 0 game...I bet that was fun to watch. We love football/soccer here at our house. DH would be having a blast to watch that game, I'm sure. He even tries to watch in spanish... He says at least the announcers in other countries know to keep their traps shut, in the US they blabber on about stuff and you're like "just shut up!" LOL!

    A very lovely Rose! I have to go read up on that now. ;)

  5. That's a beautiful rose Mar. I love the idea of of a day for roses and books and the two celebrations. Interesting post.

  6. I didn't know about this nice tradition In Barcelone. So romantic the red rose! Beautiful photo of the crowd! Love the ballons in it!

  7. We've been to Catalan - both in the Spanish and French part - but never to Barcelona. Why?
    I do not speak Catalan.
    Very different from "Spanish"?
    Am I to blonde? Or to tall? Too wild - I mean Viking?


    facts: I do allways learn soemthing from your blog.

    Sorry for my "absence" lately. I did post about it TORsday evening.

  8. Mar - I knew that Catalonia celebrates St georges day too, but WHAT a contrast. UK - zippo - zilch - nada. Catalonia - Party time! Amazing difference.

    Sounds like you had a blast!



Thanks for your comment, the best part of every post!
☀ IMPORTANT: ☀ kindly leave your direct link to the current meme, if you have multiple blogs. Thank you very much!!