Sant Jordi: The Barcelona Holiday of Roses and Books

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Sant Jordi: The Barcelona Holiday of Roses and Books

The month of April in Catalonia, and especially in Barcelona, has a very special date. It is the 23rd of April, Sant Jordi, the day of the book and the roses. A festivity well known and loved by the Catalans, which is characterized by flooding the streets with roses and books. Want to know more about this beautiful tradition? Keep reading!

The story behind the tradition

Legend has it that during the Middle Ages there was a terrible dragon that was causing destruction in a kingdom and people were terrified. Once the people had no more cattle to feed the dragon, the king organized a draw to sacrifice each day a member of the village to satiate its hunger. To everyone’s surprise, luck decided that the first person to be sacrificed would be the princess, daughter of the King. However, when she was waiting for the beast in the forest, a brave knight named Sant Jordi fought the dragon and managed to kill him with his sword. From the animal’s blood flowed a beautiful red rose, which the knight offered to the princess.

That is why every April 23 lovers are given roses in honor of the legend, as well as books, since that same date is the International Book Day.

Sant Jordi in Barcelona

As we mentioned, this is not just any day in the city. People go walk around the streets, entertain themselves in the flower stalls, looking for the best rose and accumulate in the book stands. In the morning there is already much movement, and it increases throughout the day. Later, when leaving work, thousands of Barcelonans and visitors explore this large outdoor bookstore that is Barcelona on April 23.

The city center accumulates the most people, but any neighborhood, street, square, or avenue is surounded by this festival of books and lovers. A walk starting at Rambla de Catalunya and going down to Las Ramblas is a spectacle that you should not miss that day if you are visiting the city.

It should be mentioned that Sant Jordi is the patron Saint of Catalonia. For this reason, it’s possible to visit official buildings, of which rarely you can access the interior. The Palau de la Generalitat, seat of the Government of Catalonia, opens the doors to citizens on the occasion of the holiday, and you can find several workshops and free activities around Barcelona, such as children’s games, poetry and writing contests, recitals, theatrical performances, book signatures and much more.

If you are thinking of visiting Barcelona during Sant Jordi or at any time of year, don’t forget to take a look at our 100% equipped apartments. Make your reservation!


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