Ever heard of La Diada de Sant Jordi? The holiday takes its name from St. George, the patron of Catalonia and it falls on the anniversary of his death. Every year on April 23rd, lovers in Catalonia, Spain exchange gifts in a celebration similar to Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, boys give girls roses and girls give boys books. Roses have been associated with the holiday since Medieval times, but the incorporation of books is more recent. In 1923, a bookseller began to advertise the holiday as a way to commemorate the deaths of two renowned authors: Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes and Britain’s William Shakespeare. Both men died April 23, 1616.
Catalonians took to the trend and some celebrate by doing 24-hour marathon readings of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Others flock to Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, to take advantage of the numerous makeshift stands selling flowers and books. Throughout the day, some four million roses and 400,000 books are purchased in celebration of love.
Literature and love? Count me in.
|Catalan streets are lined with vendors selling roses and books to honor the Sant Jordi holiday.|