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The most popular festival in Catalonia

Every year on April 23, Catalonia celebrates Saint George's Day (Sant Jordi in Catalan tradition), also known as Valentine's Day. This Catalan tradition honors two events: Saint George, the beautiful knight who rescued the princess from the clutches of a terrifying dragon, and World Book Day, which was declared an international holiday by UNESCO in 1995. Catalans exchange books and roses on this day as a symbol of love and respect.

Legend and history

Saint George is a legendary figure of ancient myths. He saved the princess from a dragon that threatened the city and its inhabitants. The story dates back to the 12th century and continues to be celebrated in many countries to this day.

According to local legend, a terrible dragon terrorised all the inhabitants of the city of Mont Blanc, and the king was forced to sacrifice his only daughter to the monster. Luckily, a handsome prince appeared, killed the dragon, and freed the villagers and the princess. The monster's blood flowed to the ground, and a beautiful rose bush sprouted there.

Saint George, one of the first Christian saints, was called by Peter I of Aragon in 1096 during the conquest of Huesca against the Saracens, and, according to ancient chronicles, the king made him the patron of the Aragonese crown in gratitude for the victory. As a result, the name of the saint became known throughout the kingdom.

Finally, King Martin the Man declared April 23 Catalonia Day in honor of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia. Since then, Sant Jordi Day has continued to be one of the most important national holidays. This tradition has become a way to celebrate love, culture and Catalan identity.



The canonical story of rose giving begins in 15th-century Barcelona, at a flower fair held in front of the Generalitat Palace in memory of the country's patron saint. The men courted the girls at the fair and gave them a rose as a token of their election. A few years later, Les Corts, the main legislature, declared Saint George's Day "lovers' day" in response to popular support.



Catalans exchange books and roses as a token of love, respect and admiration on Sant Jordi Day. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was decided to organise an evening in support of the sale and promotion of the book in Barcelona. It has since become part of the tradition.

Now on St. George's Day they exchange not only roses, but also books. Large book fairs, author meetings, master classes and other interesting events are held in the central squares of the city. In 1995, UNESCO declared April 23 "International Book Day" throughout the world.



The dragon has always been deeply rooted in Catalan identity: it is present in the crown of James I, in many heraldic symbols, in bestiaries, folk festivals and has acquired a special cultural and artistic significance.

Barcelona is considered the city in the world with the largest number of dragons per square meter. They can be found anywhere, both on the most prominent monuments and in the most obscure corners, and we can look for them by walking around the house of Amalia, the house of Batllo and the house of Lleo Morera and many other places in the Old Quarter.

Let's discover them together! Come to Barcelona and try to find the most attractive ones! Share with us your discoveries!


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