Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Barcelona - Sant Jordi's Day

Today was the big day, the Day of St. George! How do you celebrate it in your country? Here in Barcelona it’s the day of romance and it’s actually bigger than Valentine’s day!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, Sant Jordi is Catalonia’s patron saint and he’s very popular. So much so that if you ever forget a guy’s name who you met in Catalonia there’s a big chance it will be Jordi.

Every year on the 23rd of April Catalonia celebrates St. Jordi’s death.  According to the stories when he slayed the dragon roses grew on the place where the dragon’s blood had spilt. George, ever the gentlemen, picked one and gave it to the just-saved princess. Therefore on this day all the boys give a rose to the girls.

And there are the books. According to stories there was a bookshop that started to promote today as a day of remembering two very important people of literature as this day is the date of the death of William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes. Therefore on this day all the girls give a book to the boys.

When I went to school in the morning the preparations were well under way and even my local bakery put up a new decoration.

You could see rose stalls all over the town.

The book stalls weren’t behind much either and I was looking forward to having a good look at them after my class.

The Catalan pride was flying high, Sand Jordi cakes and dragons everywhere and even the houses were dressed up.

And this is Las Ramblas at 2 in the afternoon. This is probably be the only time I ever venture there.

I decided that it would be a good occasion to buy my first book in Spanish. I thought that considering the level of my Spanish I should get a book for children, hopefully I could at least have a go with that. I was desperate to find a book on the story of Sant Jordi but I was dismayed to realise that they were all in Catalan! Not to mention that the Catalan is so similar to the Spanish that I had to ask people to verify the books for me. Embarrassing, but necessary.

After I realised this I gave up on that and tried to find a book by a famous Spanish writer for example the afore mentioned Cervantes or Gabriel Garcia Marquez as I thought it would be nice to read them on their original language. I could not find any however I noticed a special Sant Jordi edition of the Fifty shades series…

At the end I settled with one that I think is a good choice even though the author is French. Here’s my first book in Spanish. I do wonder when I’ll be able to read it.

When I first saw Paul this afternoon he was waiting for me with a lovely rose!

I thought of trying to tell him that the Little Prince was his gift but I don’t think it would’ve worked. At the end I got away with getting both of the presents!

It was great walking around the city today as everybody was carrying roses around with them. I saw a dad giving a rose to his (supposedly) wife and little girl. There were rose stalls everywhere, little ones and big ones on every corner. On the Metro many people were reading new looking books. Nobody was left out of the celebrations.
What a lovely tradition! @->->--

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