Sant Jordi’s Day
The Catalan Valentine’s Day
Sant Jordi (Saint George) is the patron of Catalonia, whose festival is celebrated on April 23.
In this day, men give a red rose to women as a present, and women give a book to men to celebrate their love for each others.
The International Book’s Day
Each April 23 the streets of Catalonia are filled with stalls selling beautiful flowers and books.
The day of Sant Jordi was declared the International Day of the Book by UNESCO in 1996. The historical reason behind the choice of this date, is that both Shakespeare and Cervantes died on 23rd of April.
Legend of Sant Jordi
This beautiful legend states that there was a dragon that frightened the small town of Montblanc, located in the south of Catalonia.
To avoid his fierce attacks, town people gave him a young maid every day, which was chosen by a popular draw. One day, the the princess of Montblan was chosen as a sacrifice for the dragon. When she was about to be devoured, Sant Jordi appeared, a brave knight who fought and defeated the dragon, rescuing the beautiful princess, who fell in love with him.
Soon after his death, a red rose grew up from the blood that flowed from the heart of the dragon. This is the origin of this special tradition of giving a red rose to women.