Monday, May 15, 2017


   La Diada de Sant Jordi or Saint George's Day is celebrated in Barcelona on the 23rd of April. Sometimes it is also called "el dia de la rosa" (The Day of the Rose) or "el dia del llibre" (The Day of the Book).
   It is Barcelona's Valentine's Day. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia. As to the legend, Saint George killed a dragon which was about to eat the princess south of Barcelona. Out of dragon's blood a rose bush grow. Saint George gave roses of that bush to the princess.

   The Traditional Rose Festival,  honouring romantic love and chivalry,  has been organized in Barcelona since the Middle Ages. In 1932,  people united the festival with local International Book Day. They thought it was suitable to do it and mark the anniversary of  the death of two giants in the of world literature,  Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. They both died on the 23rd of April, 1616.


    A  new tradition was created.  Men give beautiful roses to their ladies and they give them books in return. Catalan people say "a rose for love and a book forever". Nowadays,  it's common for  women besides getting roses,  gets a  book too. On average,  four million roses and 500,000 books are sold in whole Catalonia, this time of the year.
   La Rambla,  a famous street in central Barcelona, is full of stalls with books. In Catalan,  the name of the street means an intermittent water flow. The word is derived from Arab word,  "ramla",  which means a sandy riverbed. Numerous stalls with books are  in other parts of Catalonia too.

   Many writers stand beside the stalls ready to sign their books. There is also a tradition of 24-hour reading of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cerventes.
   Roses are presented in a special way. Together with the roses,  people will put  a spike of wheat and a small red and yellow Catalonian flag called "senyera". There are also ribbons with printed words like "Sant Jordi" ("Saint George"), "Diada de la Rosa" ("Day of the Rose") and "t'estimo" ("I love you").


    In the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi city district of Barcelona,  flower dealers organize displays  of 45 different roses. These roses symoblize different sorts of love.
   The Sardana,  is a dance done by the people Catalonia. There are two main Sardanes - the traditional sardana curta (short sardana) and the more modern sardana llarga (long sardana). The modern one is more popular today. The Sardana has been popular since the 16th century. Music for the sardana is played by a band called "la cobla".
 Why the Sardana is mentioned here? Well, on La Diada de Sant Jordi,  it is danced on the Plaça Sant Jaume (the main plaza or square in Catalonia).


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