One of the most special days of the year in Catalonia is on April 23rd. Roses and books in Saint Jordi have become a beautiful tradition dating back to the 15th century, when, on this same date, women use to attended a mass officiated in the chapel of Sanit Jordi, in the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia, where they received a rose.
Later, the tradition changed and lovers became the protagonists of this custom. To the red rose, symbol of love and passion, was added a spike of wheat that was referred to fertility. In Catalan culture, April 23rd is also known as the lovers day, in addition to Valentine’s Day.
In 2005, UNESCO declared April 23rd as World Book Day, matching the beautiful tradition of giving roses and books in Sant Jordi, which became a national symbol and an international reference.
The legend of Saint Jordi and the dragon
Legend tells that in the 9th century a terrible dragon lived in the vicinity of the town of Montblanc, in the Conca of Barbera, who used to frightened the neighbors of the town. The villagers who were fear by the attacks of the vile reptile, used to feed the dragon, and quenched his hunger by giving him a couple of animals every day. Cows, goats, sheep, oxen … All animals were needed to placate the voracious dragon. However, one day the animals scarced and the villagers, having no more meat to give to the dragon, they felt forced to offer a person chosen by lot. Until one day, chance decided that the person choosen was the King’s daughter. The King, desperated, tried to convince its people not to send his daughter to death, but every effort was not worth it, and the princess was ordered to be eaten by the dragon.
When the girl was about to be devoured by the terrible beast, a gentleman with a golden shield appeared galloping on a white steed. He was George of Cappadocia. And when the knight was near that creature, took his great spear and thrust it with all his might into the dragon’s breast piercing his heart. Saving the princess, and all the people.
It is said that a rose bush grew from the spilled blood of the dragon, and the knight did not hesitate to pluck one of its roses and give it to the princess as a symbol of love for her.
Because of this legend, every year on April 23rd, men give roses to women; and women give books to men. Because it is believed that the princess thanked the feat of the gentleman composing him a poem.
The legend of Sant Jordi and the dragon inspired one of the most famous and important Catalan modernist architects of all time, Antonio Gaudí, in his work House Batlló.
Medieval week in Montblanc in Sanit Jordi
Due to Montblanc is the birthplace of the legend of this tradition, the whole town, since 1988, it transports back in time to revive the medieval era. Its streets, its squares and the towers of the old wall are decorated with stately standards, and the whole town becomes, for a few days, an authentic fortress of the Middle Ages. In addition, in the program of this festival, is carried out the representation of the legend of Sant Jordi, with pyrotechnic shows, medieval dinners and a great traditional market of that time.
Such was the fame of this medieval party in Montblanc, which was declared Fiesta of National Tourist Interest in Catalonia and the rest of Spain.
Such was the fame of this medieval fair in Montblanc, which was declared as an event of National Tourist Interest in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain.
We hope you have liked this article “Roses and flowers in Saint Jordi” and encourage you to come to the city to enjoy this spectacular party.
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