Sant Jordi´s Day
The rose and the book are the main characters of one of the most beautiful hoydays in Barcelona.
The Saint Jordi festivity, which takes place the 23rd of April, is one of the most beautiful holidays in Catalonia, above all in Barcelona. During this day, the downtown streets are full of colours thanks to the small book and rose stands that are put up in the centre. Many curious tourists and neighbours walk through the city. The men must give a red rose as a present to their ladies and the ladies must give a book to their man. This day is also the Day of the Books, which is a remembering of Cervantes death.
The rose tradition is not new. In the Middle Age the aristocratic class organized lord competitions, where the men gave a flower to the women. The red colour symbolizes the passion and the ear that is put together with the rose stands for fertility.
The Saint Jordi was a lord and a martyr born in Capadocia (Turkish nowadays). He is the hero of an exceptional gentleman story which took place in Libya. As a contradiction to this the Catalonian tradition believes that it happened in Tarragona, in a small town called Montblanc. In Montblanc there was a dragon that feared the people of the town. Its stinky breath managed to kill the people who come close to it.
The neighbourhood wanted to sacrifice one person every day in order to avoid the monster to attack everybody. Naturally the problem was that there was nobody who wanted to be eaten by the dragon. Therefore, each day they picked one person from the population of the town. The system was very effective until one day the person who had to be delivered to the monster was the beautiful princess. Many people offered themselves, but the king was uncompromising in despite of his sadness: His daughter had to be sacrificed like the rest of his citizens.
They were very worried when observing the princess getting closer and closer to the lake, where the dragon lived. A few meters away from were she came from, suddenly a handsome gentleman appeared in front of the princess. She begged him to go away so that the monster wouldn’t eat him too. He calmed her down and explained to her that he was there to free the village.
At this moment, the dragon came out of the ocean depths with the objective of having a good lunch. However, Sant Jordi threw a spear and got to wound the monster. After that, he tied the dragons neck with a rope and offered it to the princess. She came back to Montblanc with the fearful wild animal. At the central square the people definitively killed the animal.