The 23rd of April, Barcelona and Catalonia celebrate its more cherished tradition: Sant Jordi, which means “Saint George” in Catalan. This day, men give a rose to the woman they love to commemorate the legend of the knight Sant Jordi. The legend says that there was a little town in the mountains that was terrorised by a fierce dragon that lived in the caves of the mountain. To prevent him from attacking the village, every day the villagers gave him a sheep to eat.

 

But, alas!, they eventually ran out of sheep and cattle, and had nothing to feed the dragon. Fear cut deep in the village, and in an assembly they decided that they would give him a young woman instead. They did a random pick, and against all odds, the chosen one was the princess. The king accepted what destiny had chosen for her dear daughter, and she was sent to the caves to appease the dragon.

 

However, Sant Jordi, a knight, was very much in love with the princess, and decided to save her and kill the beast. He rode his horse up to the mountain caves and pierce the dragon’s heart with his spear. The beast died, and a rose bush grew from its blood. Sant Jordi cut a rose and gave it to the princess, and thus the tradition of Sant Jordi was born.

Roses for Sant Jordi - Gowithoh

Sant Jordi today

Tradition has changed a little bit today, as Sant Jordi has been merged with World Book Day for years now. If the old tradition dictated by the legend stated that men should give a rose to the woman they loved, World Book Day introduced a reciprocation, as women had to give a book to the man they loved. Fortunately, the sexism of the tradition is mellowing down with the years, as more women demand a book instead of a rose, and the rose tradition is surpassing the romantic love symbol: Fathers give roses to their daughters, daughters give roses to their mothers, and even friends give roses or books to each other, as the rose and the book are becoming more of an “I care for you” declaration.

However, the most remarkable thing to say about Sant Jordi today is how beautiful Barcelona is. Even if it’s just for a day, everybody is excited about books, and goes out to buy books and roses from street vendors. The streets are packed with happy people, as the tradition of Sant Jordi is deeply loved by the locals. This is why April is such a great month to visit the city of Barcelona!

Author
At GowithOh, we are an enthusiastic team of self-confessed Europhiles who are passionate about travel. We especially love the variety of city breaks possible in Europe, from the historic UNESCO heritage cities like Prague, to the more cosmopolitan beachside destinations like Barcelona. We love discovering the hidden gems in different cities and sharing them with our fans so everyone can benefit and enjoy the perfect city break in Europe.