Sant Jordi, or Saint George's Day is a day filled with fun, and fiesta. It is also the Catalan equivalent to Valentine's Day and love is in the air!
Sant Jordi is celebrated on 23rd April to commerate his death on that date in 303 AD and each year, you can see the streets filled with people strolling around grasping books and roses wrapped in ribbons in the colours of the Catalan flag (The Senyera).
Bookstalls and book markets pop up all over Barcelona on Sant Jordis day with the highest number being on Las Ramblas and Rambla de Catalunya. At the end of the event roughly four million roses and 800,000 books will have been purchased. Most women carry a rose of various colors in one hand, and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place on this occasion.
The tradition of men giving roses to their sweethearts started because the legend of Saint George says that after he killed the dragon and rescued the princess, a single red rose grew from the ground where the dragon’s blood was spilled.
The tradition of the women giving books to men is a more recent one that started at the beginning of the 20th century due to the simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on 23 April 1616.
To add to the tradition and sentiment of the event it has now become customary to give roses of different colors to signify and symbolize different meanings. Below are the symbolic meanings of the colors – but of course if you like a particular color then you can just ignore the symbolic meanings!
Red rose – usually given to lovers because it symbolizes passion and love.
Blue rose – usually given to friends since they symbolize trust. It is said that if you give blue roses to someone who is anxious, it will help that person to feel more calm.
Pink roses – usually given to show gratitude for an important favour, or simply for that persons affection. .
Purple roses – symbolize nobility, femininity and seduction,
White roses – symbolize purity and innocence, and are often given to express someone the desire of having a deep long relationship
Yellow roses – these are less common, but are also seen. They symbolize joy and happiness, thus they are usually given to teenagers and also in celebrations.
Sant Jordi´s day is not an official public holiday in Catalunya so everything is open as normal but people treat it as a day of fun and fiesta. Although book stalls and roses can be found all over the city we have listed the areas which are the most popular. Be aware though that these areas get very crowded so if that’s not what you are looking for then head slightly out of the central areas.
Plaça Sant Jaume
Metro: Jaume I (Yellow Line, L4)
Metro: Catalunya (Red Line, L1) or (Green Line, L3)
La Rambla (Las Ramblas)
Metro: Drassanes (Green Line, L3)
Metro: Liceu (Green Line, L3)
Metro: Catalunya (Green Line, L3)
If you are coming to Barcelona for Sant Jordi´s day and you havent yet found somewhere to stay then check out Habitat Apartments where you can find a huge number of apartments that are close to the festivities. Featured below is the Art 1 Apartment which is perfectly located close to Las Ramblas.
If you enjoyed this article and would like more tips and information then give us a like on our social media sites