The Perfect Holiday in Barcelona

The 23rd of April is the Saint George’s Day, also known as “La Diada de Sant Jordi”. Unlike many other holidays, it is a working day, and that gives it part of its magic.

Barcelona as seen from the Tibidabo.

La Diada de Sant Jordi started around the XV century as the Love Day. In those days, it was a tradition to give a red rose like blood to your loved one. It was proposed to turn this date into a precept festival for the first time in 1436, when the proposal was formulated in the Catalan Parliament. The proposal would take effect in 1456. Since the 15th century, in Catalonia, St. George’s Day has been the Valentine’s Day.

Flowers in the St. George’s Day in Catalonia. Source WikiCommons and my own pictures.

In 1929, it was the Barcelona International Exposition. That year, in the St. George’s Day, the booksellers decided to take to the streets and put up stalls with their books. That year, they decided to propose the 23rd of April as the Book Day. Nowadays, it is the World Book Day. From that day on, it was established as a custom to give books in addition to roses.

Books in the St. George’s Day in Catalonia. Source WikiCommons and my own pictures.

There’s a good thing about books and culture being the protagonist of the party. Around St. George days, children of all ages and ages were encouraged to write stories and poems. Writing contests are held all over the country under the name of Floral Games (Jocs Florals). Although the Floral Games were celebrated on 1st of May since 1324, it is considered the oldest literary contest in Europe, it was moved to the 23rd of April. And best of all, you can find your favorite writers signing books on the street that day.

Writers in the St. George’s Day in Catalonia. Source WikiCommons and my own pictures.

Xavier Sala-i-Martín, professor of the University of Columbia and one of the most influential economists of the world, classifies this holiday as the perfect holiday. He explains that unlike Valentine’s Day, the 23rd of April roses have flourished, and you do not to import them from other countries. He also mentions that the brain cannot put the right economic value on gifts, we tend to underestimate, but that is not the case with St. George’s gifts. Furthermore, he says that it also removes the paradox of choosing a gift because we know what to give, unlike Christmas.

La Casa Batlló with roses for St. George’s Day. Photo by Anna Murzilon on Unsplash

St. George’s Day is an exceptional day in Catalonia. If you have never been to Barcelona the 23rd of April, you have to came, breathe, and enjoy this so special holiday.

Note: Nowadays, there is no such thing a rose for your wife and a book for your husband, it is not a Valentine’s Day. You can make a gift to any of your friends, free of commintment and problems. You can give books to boys and girls, and roses to boys and girls. Well, it is not common give a rose to boys, but not uncommon.

Full view of la Casa Batlló. Source WikiCommons.

Have you noticed that the Casa Batlló is the story of St. George killing the dragon? The roof is the dragon, the top-right window is the eye. The cross is the sword killing the dragon. The top-middle balcony is the rose that grows from the dragon blood. And the rest of the balconies are the people hidden behind masks, afraid of the dragon.

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