Día de Sant Jordi – St. George’s Day

Instead of celebrating the wildly popular (and highly commercial) day of St. Valentine, the people of Catalunya (the region in Spain where Barcelona is located) honor St. George, or Sant Jordi.

Every year on April 23, Barcelona comes alive. There are Catalan flags on almost every building, and hundreds of book and rose stands.

The legend

once upon a time…

there was a kingdom that was plagued by a dragon who lived in their lake. To try and please the dragon, the people of the kingdom would feed the dragon sheep and cattle everyday. However, soon there were no more animals to give to the dragon, so the King began a lottery to sacrifice the children of the kingdom. One day the king’s daughter was chosen to be the next, he tried to offer all of his belongings to spare her, but the townspeople refused. St. George happened to ride by the lake ,on his horse with his sword and shield, and slayed the dragon and saved the princess. And from the dragons blood grew a rose, which St. George gave to the princess.

Now on April 23, the day of St. George’s death, the men of Catalunya give roses to important women in the life.

It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century when people proposed to move “book day” to April 23, the day when Cervantes and Shakespeare are rumored to have died on. Now the woman give the important men in their life books.

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