Post written by Silvia, a United Planet Team member
However, in Catalonia, we have our traditional lover’s day as well—la Diada de Sant Jordi—celebrated on April 23. It is known as the day of the rose and the book, because loved ones share these presents to show their love to each other. Traditionally, females would receive a rose from their lovers, and males would receive a book: “A rose for love and a book forever”. However, nowadays friends and relatives share roses and books with each other as a sign of respect and appreciation. It is such a lovely tradition! During la Diada de Sant Jordi you will hardly find a woman without a rose; it doesn’t matter if you are single, as there’s always a good male friend or relative who will give you a rose as a sign of appreciation. Some shops also offer roses to their female customers as a sign of gratitude. So, it is a holiday about LOVE itself, not only about “couples’ love”. The tradition comes from Sant Jordi’s legend, which says that Sant Jordi rescued a princess from being eaten by a dragon. The legend says that when he killed the dragon a rosebush grew from the emanating blood.
What makes the Diada de Sant Jordi exciting is that, generally, by April 23, the sun is shining and you can wear spring clothes. So it’s amazing to wake up in the morning knowing that you will find the streets full of rose and book stalls. The atmosphere is happy and light, especially if you go walking at Barcelona downtown. All stalls, buses, balconies, etc. are draped with the Catalan flag, and it’s such a beautiful image together with the roses and books. There are also a wide variety of street performers and book writers present to sign their books. And bookshops generally host readings by noted authors. There are activities for everyone on Sant Jordi’s day.
As you can see, I really love the Diada de Sant Jordi! People really love Sant Jordi’s day in Catalonia. But there is also a special reason why I am so attached to the tradition: it’s my birthday. I love to celebrate my birthday in such a lovely atmosphere. There’s no cloudy birthday for me, I was born on the day of love, and I have always received a rose from both my mom and my dad, because, as they say, I have been their rose since the day that I was born 24 years ago.
I wish you a happy “love day”, whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or any other tradition. I encourage you to join us in our Diada de Sant Jordi! I welcome you to learn more about my lovely city on such an important holiday!