Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sant Jordi, Books and Roses in Barcelona

This month sees a couple of public holidays in Catalonia, don't you just love April (and September) in Barcelona?! Apart from the Easter break we've just had, there's another perhaps more famous one to come.
Rooftop of Casa Battló - Barcelona Sights
The Patron Saint of Catalonia is Saint George, and on the 23rd April falls "Sant Jordi" - Saint George's Day - which is a real festival and celebration in Catalonia, with the capital Barcelona really going to town. Flags are hung out on balconies, hardly anybody goes to work, the bakers fill with "cocas" and it is tradition for boys to present a rose to the girls, representing the blood of the dragon slain by Saint George.

Gaudi himself even paid homage to Saint George on various occasions, with the rooftop of Casa Mila having it's central chimney as a George's cross, and nearby Casa Battló's rooftop having an uncanny resemblance to a dragon's scaly back.
Sant Jordi Rose on Barcelona Sights
So after the presentation of the rose, the boys receive in return perhaps a strange comparison - a book -until you realise that the 23rd April is also the anniversary of Spain's most famous Author, Miguel Cervantes - Spain's Shakespeare if you like. The days around San Jordi see the streets of Passeig de Gracia and many other open spaces such as Portal del Angel and the Cathedral fill with mobile bookstores, and needless to say Las Ramblas itself is a sea of people with different coloured roses. It's a fantastic spectacle to see, and the local TV stations such as TV3 and 33 often have cameras around the city, or even despite the weather last year in Plaça Catalunya for bird's eye coverage of the celebrations.

Sant Jordi is a great time to visit Barcelona, and if you happen to be visiting the city at this time, I'm sure you'll be overwhelmed by the sheer presence of the locals in the streets - it's a real celebration of culture. Why not look into apartments for rent in Barcelona if you're thinking of coming to the city ? If you're lucky enough to get an apartment located withing the old town, near to Las Ramblas, you'll be able to see all the fun from your own apartment balcony or window!


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