“I’m a habitual follower of your blog and I have something to explain to you. ... I’m from Barcelona (Spain), which is the capital city of a region called Catalonia. Catalonia, or Catalunya, is a different nation from the Spanish one. We speak a language called Catalan and have many cultural and national traditions. Some are really ugly and some are really nice. And on next Sunday the nicest of them will be taking place. In Sant Jordi’s Day (Saint George) we exchange red roses and books. Traditionally, it is lovers’ day (like Saint Valentine’s). But, instead of big presents, men give women a single red rose and women give men a book...”
After I read this letter, my first reaction was: What the hell? How come we have crappy Valentine’s Day with it’s stupid roses and half naked little elf—and Barcelona gets a cool day with books?!? Kind of unfair if you ask me. Hmph. Er, anyway, despite my shortcomings LOL, I’ve looked for more information about this Catalonian holiday which makes 6 million Spaniards run amock Barcelona from dawn till dusk. Here’s what I found:
According to the stories, Saint George, the patron Saint of Catalonia, “allegedly slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful princess south of Barcelona. From the dragon’s blood sprouted a rosebush, from which the hero plucked the prettiest for the princess.” Geesh. And I thought Trollop’s fascination with fucking was weird.
Also known as “The Day of Lovers,” La Diada de Sant Jordi is like Valentine’s Day with some uniquely Latin twists. ... In 1923, a smart bookseller started to promote the holiday as a way to honour the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on April 23, 1616. Barcelona is the publishing capital of the Spanish-speaking world and this heady one-two punch of love and literacy was quickly adopted.
On Bacelona’s principal street, Las Ramblas, and all over the city, hundreds of stands of roses and makeshift bookstalls have been hastily set up for the occasion. By the end of the day, some four million roses and 400,000 books will have been purchased in the name of love. You will be hard-pressed to find a woman without a rose in hand, and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place on this occasion.