The book and the rose

The 23rd of April is Sant Jordi‘s day in Barcelona. Sant Jordi (Saint George), whom the legend depicts killing a dragon to save the princess, is the most important love festivity in Catalonia, over the cupid cherubs’ version on Valentine’s day. The tradition tells that each girl should get a rose, which must be as red as the dragon’s blood, the love present from her beau (her own Sant Jordi), and that she reciprocates with a book for him.

For many many young couples (and not that young as well) the tradition sounds a little outdated, because nowadays girls prefer books over flowers or, like in my case, both. Being spoiled during a love day does not sound that bad, does it? That’s why many girls actually get a book as well, or they buy one for themselves during that day seizing a 10% discount that, also traditionally, applies on all book purchases.

Although I should get Dani a book as a surprise present, we actually like to spend that afternoon looking through them together, commenting on which are our favorites and trying to discover which books are going to be on the best sellers’ lists the next day (that is always fun!). We always end buying like a couple of softcovers per each with the pretext that it is actually not too spendy because it is the same price as a regular hardcover one. Do you guys use this same excuse?

Las Ramblas are the heart of the celebration in Barcelona with thousands of stalls selling books and roses from the sea to its head on Plaça Catalunya. Those of you that have already been in Barcelona may visualize how crowded Las Ramblas can be, well, now add 100 times more people to get a proper idea of the Sant Jordi view and to beautify it also add each girl carrying a vibrant red rose. We like to step a foot on Las Ramblas to catch the atmosphere, but we can resist only around 30 minutes before we head to our favorite bookshops.

Have you heard of this festivity before? Do you celebrate a similar one? We’d love to hear it!

And with some roses and books we wish you a nice weekend full of reading! Off to read ours!

Red roses for Sant Jordi - The cat, you and us

Red roses to make Sant Jordi proud. Phone pics only this day because we are not brave enough to carry the dslr with all the crowds, do you feel the same in those situations?

A little girl searching for her book in Sant Jordi - The cat, you and us

I like to see that future generations of girls will also reclaim their book.

Sant Jordi stalls in Las Ramblas - The cat, you and us Roses baskets for Sant Jordi - The cat, you and us

You can see here another tradition, each rose brings a wheat spike and a catalan flag bow.

Selling roses for Sant Jordi - The cat, you and us La Central bookshop - The cat, you and us Books for Sant Jordi

And here we have our books! :) Can you guess which two books are mine and which are Dani’s? Which one should I read first? Any recommendations? Happy Sant Jordi everyone, love (in its broader meaning) is the best thing to celebrate!

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  1. Jane Y. ADDS...

    i have never heard of this but i always love hearing about celebrations from other countries. :)

    25th April 2014
    • We reply...

      It is a very local celebration (only Catalonia) so I see that, although here is a big deal, it is very unknown :) Any celebration with books as presents is a great idea!

  2. Fiona ADDS...

    What a super sweet tradition and the rose being as red the dragon’s blood, is the icing on the cake for me! Books and roses how amazing, I want to bring this tradition to Australia :) Oh and based purely on their covers I’m say Damaris has the two on the left and Dani the two on the right – am I close?

    26th April 2014
    • We reply...

      Oh so close Fee! I got the Breafast at Tiffany’s and the Grapes of Wrath while Dani got the Invisible Man and “Quasimodo” :P – two unconventional men for him :)

  3. Albert ADDS...

    Mmmm… Dani, Dàmaris, Dani, Dàmaris?

    26th April 2014
    • We reply...

      Quasi quasi, jajajaja, i no estic fent conyes amb el nom del prota del llibre d’en Dani… no :)

  4. Kristine ADDS...

    What a cool tradition! I would love flowers and books!

    28th April 2014
    • We reply...

      Books and flowers are one of the best ways to celebrate love, right? :)

  5. Mariko ADDS...

    I used to work with a girl from Catalonia and she told us about the book giving tradition, but I didn’t know that girls were “supposed” to get roses. I love this so much more than chocolates or candies. Maybe Rick and I should have our own book giving tradition.

    1st May 2014
    • We reply...

      That’s why you know so many things about Catalonia! (mistery solved!, hahaha) :) Was your work colleague from Barcelona as well? I think St Jordi may be the best Catalan tradition to export, so I would love to see it in more places!

  6. Joie Fatale ADDS...

    I like this idea! Or, even giving my husband the rose, and he gets me the book (dudes like flowers too).

    15th May 2014

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