Just like every year, April 23rd will once again celebrate Saint George's Day, a festival that also coincides with the International Book Day. Therefore, it is not surprising that in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia both of these celebrations are marked as important dates on the calendar. Take the opportunity to indulge in history, tradition, romanticism and prepare for plenty of cultural events in the middle of spring.
History of Saint George's Day
April 23rd, 2017 is the date chosen to commemorate Saint George's death, a popular saint who became an icon in medieval literature because of the legends that were told about him. Among those legendary tales, the most famous of all is undoubtedly the one that tells of his fierce struggle with a dragon that harassed the local populations of a distant city. His victory became a symbol of freedom and prosperity. It should be noted that he was the patron saint of Aragon, Balearic Islands and, of course, Catalonia.
The uniqueness of Saint George's Day
Saint George's Day always takes place on the Monday following Easter, so this year, it will be celebrated on April 23rd. Beyond the religious meaning of this date, Catalonia has created a series of beautiful traditions around it. The main one, as it coincides with the World Book Day, is to give a book and a rose to a loved one as a romantic gesture. In fact romanticism is greatly emphasised so much so that one of the most popular and widespread traditions is for couples to give each other a book and a rose.
How Saint George's Day is celebrated
On Saint George's Day, Catalan cities, and in many cases the rest of Spain, prepare book fairs in the streets. It is not unusual to see the most emblematic places in the historical centres of the city get filled with stalls and shops where it is possible to buy practically any book you can think of. Also, the most recognised authors take the opportunity to meet up with their fans and hold talks as well as sign autographs.
In addition to these places that sell books, there are also flower stalls, which make the city colourful and give it a special charm that can not be enjoyed at any other time of the year. It is, therefore, not surprising to see this event has ended up becoming one of the most emblematic in Barcelona thanks to the Valencian writer, Vicente Clavel, who introduced the idea back in 1926.