Sant Jordi: The Catalan Tradition of Love, Literature, and Roses

Sant Jordi is one of the most important festivals in Catalan culture and deeply rooted in tradition. 

Every year, on April 23rd, the streets of the cities and towns of Catalonia come to life to celebrate this holiday that combines literature, roses, and love.

You will also feel this feeling in Xior student residences in Barcelona at Xior CollblancXior Diagonal Besòs and Xior The Lofttown.

Tradition: Rose and book

The tradition of giving a rose and a book dates back to the early 20th century.

When the Valencian bookseller Vicent Clavel proposed the idea of celebrating the Day of the Book, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of two great writers, Cervantes and Shakespeare. 

So, the rose, on the other hand, represents Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia and a legendary figure who fought against the dragon to free the princess.

Legend of Sant Jordi

This legend of Saint George tells the story of a fierce dragon that terrorized a small village in Catalonia. 

In order to appease the dragon, a human sacrifice was offered each month, chosen by lottery. One day, the king’s daughter was chosen to be given to the dragon. 

Saint George, a brave knight, decided to fight the beast to save the princess. 

After a hard-fought battle, Saint George was able to defeat the dragon by plunging his lance into its heart. 

From the dragon’s blood, a red rosebush sprouted, and Saint George plucked a rose to offer to the princess as a symbol of his love.

The celebration of Sant Jordi

Since then, the celebration of Sant Jordi has become one of the most popular in Catalonia and one of the most admired worldwide. 

The streets are filled with book stalls, with authors signing copies and reading excerpts from their works.

While florists offer a wide variety of roses in all colors and sizes.

In addition, the festival also has a very important cultural and artistic dimension. 

Many educational and cultural centers organize special activities and exhibitions to celebrate Sant Jordi, and in some places, there are live theater and music performances.

This celebration of Sant Jordi, is a demonstration of the rich tradition and culture of Catalonia, and an opportunity to promote reading, love, and art. 

Finally, It is a festival that has endured over time and remains one of the most valued by Catalan society, as well as a popular celebration that attracts tourists from all over the world.

If you live in one of the Xior residences in Barcelona, you will be able to enjoy this celebration and know a little more about Catalan culture.