Travel Guide to Sant Jordi: Barcelona’s most romantic day
During Sant Jordi’s day, you will find hundreds of book and flower stalls and thousands of people walking around, looking for the perfect gift for their beloved, family and friends along the streets of Barcelona. According to tradition, the men give roses to the women, and the women gives back a book in exchange.
This curious festival combines culture, romanticism, and traditional Catalan Food, complete with famous local writers signing copies of their books in the streets.
This celebration is also known as "El Día de los Amantes," (Lovers Day) as St. Jordi is Catalonia’s version of Valentine's Day.
Where does the tradition come from?
St. Jordi has been the patron Sant of Catalonia since the 15th century. The event is inspired by the legend of Sant Jordi, who is said to have saved a village from a huge dragon.
The villagers were forced to give their food to the dragon who was living nearby the village. Once the food began to be scarce, the dragon demanded a child per day to satisfy his appetite. As they could not refuse, the villagers decided that fortune will decide which child would be sent, and they put all children’s names on slices of paper in a hat. The king took a paper in the hat, on which was written the name of his daughter, so the princess started her journey to the dragon’s lair.
Sant Jordi arrived at the village shortly after and seeing that everyone was distressed, he asked for the reason. Once they told him what was about to happen to the princess, he decided to take action to save her.
He fought the dragon by stabbing it in the heart, and where the blood of the dragon was spilled, a rose bush grew. Sant Jordi plucked the biggest rose and give it to the princess.
What to do on St Jordi’s day?
During St Jordi’s, besides having an amazing walk around the streets of Barcelona, you can visit the Government Palace where you will be able to attend the traditional carillon concert and the roses’ blessing ceremony in the Gothic courtyard.Above all, you must try the traditional Pa de Sant Jordi. A delicious bread made with three different types of dough: one with sobrasada (spreadable chorizo); another with Emmental cheese and the third with walnuts. Once baked, the different colours of the dough make the loaf look like the Catalonian flag.