Across many other parts of the world Valentine’s Day is king. Roses are bought, gifts are lavished and anonymous cards are sent. In Catalonia however, Valentine’s Day isn’t that big a deal, instead, Sant Jordi’s day is the special day for those with a special someone. The legend tells of a brave knight killing a dragon to save his princess. Sant Jordi (Saint George in English) is the patron saint of Catalonia and every 23rd of April Catalans celebrate his Saint’s day in a quite specific way. Women give books to their partners, while the men give the ladies a long-stemmed red rose. The lovely thing about this celebration is that the gifts aren’t just for boyfriends or girlfriends; many people give roses and books to friends, work colleagues and family members, so no one is left out on this special day. Stalls selling books and roses fill the streets and the fiction fever (or non-fiction fever, depending on your tastes) is helped along by the fact that the 23rd April is also World Book Day. The date was chosen as on this day in 1616 the great writers Cervantes and Shakespeare died. Also on this day throughout history, many famous writers were born or indeed died such as Maurice Druon, K. Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
Feliç Sant Jordi a tothom!