People walking hand in hand, a boy offering a red rose to his partner declaring his love, or a mother buying a book for her children. If you are a foreigner, you probably do not understand what is happening, but we will explain it to you: welcome to the Sant Jordi festival.
The festival of Sant Jordi is a very special tradition for Catalans. Every April 23rd, roses and books flood the streets of all the towns in Catalonia, which people buy to give to the ones they love the most. But why roses and books?
According to legend, a long time ago, a fierce dragon frightened the inhabitants of the city. To calm the dreaded dragon, the citizens offered a pair of sheep a day. However, there came a time when there were no more animals left and they decided to make a raffle with all the people of the town. Unfortunately for the royal family, it was when the princess, daughter of the king himself, was chosen to be handed over to the dragon. When the princess was on her way to the sacrifice, a knight on a white horse appeared to rescue her: Saint George. The knight crossed the dragon with his weapon, freeing the princess and the rest of the inhabitants. In the place where the dragon died, a rosebush of red roses grew from its blood. Sant Jordi picked one and offered it to the princess.
One of the best ways to enjoy this festivity is visiting the Catalan capital, where monuments, public spaces and shops are decorated for the occasion. Most books and roses stands are located in the most famous streets in Barcelona (La Rambla, Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya).