Roses, books and love on Sant Jordi
Catalonia is getting ready to celebrate of its most emblematic days, the festival of Sant Jordi or Saint George. Every 23rd of April, the streets of its towns and cities are filled with people and stalls where you can buy books and roses to give as presents.
But what is the origin of this strange tradition?
This celebration stems from a mixture of tradition, culture and a touch of romanticism. On the one hand, popular culture brings us the famous Legend of Sant George and the Dragon: ‘A knight who defeated the dragon that terrorised the people and saved the princess. He slayed the dragon with his sword and from the lifeless body of the beast sprouted a rose bush of beautiful red roses. Triumphant, the knight gave one of those roses to the princess”. And this is why since 1456 Saint George has been recognised as the patron saint of Catalonia.
The matter of books came a little later, in 1926 to be precise. In a historical coincidence, writers of great renown such as Cervantes, Shakespeare, Garcilaso de la Vega… all died on April 23rd. For this reason, UNESCO chose such a symbolic date for literature, as a worldwide day to celebrate and pay tribute to great literature and its authors. The 23rd of April was thus declared as World Book Day.
The touch of romanticism comes from the tradition of couples exchanging gifts, as they celebrate their own particular Valentine’s Day. Traditionally men receive a book and women a rose. But… times have changed and so have couples and these days it is just as common for men to receive roses as women books.
On this day, the scent of roses fills the streets, the bustle of people resounds in all parts as thousands of people look for the perfect specimen to give as a gift. In the city of Barcelona, places like Las Ramblas, Paseo de Gracia, Paseo de Sant Joan, Plaza San Jaume, etc, are all places worthy of visiting. In addition to books and roses you can enjoy street recitals, readings of the great masterpieces, traditional dances and a long etc. as well as the popular Castells (human castles).
Taking advantage of the day’s celebration, many organisations hold special activities or open days at iconic buildings such as the Town Hall, the Palacio Güell, the modernist San Pau precinct or the Palau de la Generalitat, among others. However, without a doubt one the most acclaimed places to visit on this day is the Casa Batlló, into whose architecture Gaudí incorporated a representation of the legend of Saint George and the dragon with breath-taking beauty.
Discover the perfect corners
After a long day, you deserve to rest and relax a bit… At our boutique hotels you will find that perfect spot to pause at the end of the day and enjoy yourself in the best company of course. At Boutique Hotels Spain we have three charming hotels in the region of Catalonia.
The Boutique Hotel La Garriga de Castelladrall will allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Albert and Montserrat, your hosts can offer you a place where you can find all the peace and quiet you need to enjoy that magnificent book that accompanies you.
If we move to the alto Urgell region, Joan Pallarès will welcome you in his Boutique Hotel Can Boix de Peramola. Surrounded by nature and in the heart of the foothills of the Pyrenean mountain ranges, its rooms invite you to relax and soak up its peace and tranquillity. It is without a doubt the perfect place to curl up with a good book.
If as well as a little peace and tranquillity you would like to enjoy the sea breeze, at the Empordá-Costa Brava, Iván awaits with open arms at the doors of the Boutique Hotel El Racó de Madremanya. A small paradise where the contrasts of the landscapes and the light of the Costa Brava will accompany you throughout the day to make your imagination run wild and enhance your reading experience.
Now that you know the great story behind Saint George’s Day, you have no excuses not to take that romantic getaway and to come and celebrate it with us. Pick a good book and share it with Boutique Hotels Spain…The roses and magic are already taken care of!