Festival of Sant Jordi: Date and Traditions


Festival of Sant Jordi: Date and Traditions

The Festival of Sant Jordi, also known as Saint George’s Day, is a vibrant celebration that takes place annually on April 23rd in Catalonia, Spain. This festival holds deep cultural and historical significance for the region, as well as an abundance of romantic traditions.

Legend has it that on this day, the handsome knight Sant Jordi bravely battled a fierce dragon to save a beautiful princess. As he slayed the creature, a rosebush miraculously sprouted from the ground where the dragon’s blood spilled, and Sant Jordi plucked a red rose to gift to the princess as a symbol of his love and bravery.

Today, the Festival of Sant Jordi is a colorful spectacle filled with love, literature, and roses. It is often referred to as the Catalan equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Couples exchange gifts, with men traditionally presenting their loved ones with a red rose, while women give them a book. This unique combination of roses and books represents the power of passion and knowledge.

During this time, the streets and squares of Catalonia come alive with markets, stalls, and book fairs, offering a wide variety of literature for all tastes. Authors and publishers showcase their work, and people wander through the vibrant displays, searching for the perfect book to gift their loved ones.

What can you see and do in Barcelona on 23 April?

What can you see and do in Barcelona on 23 April?

The Festival of Sant Jordi is a vibrant cultural celebration that takes place every year on 23 April in Barcelona, Spain. It is a festive day filled with activities and events that attract locals and tourists alike. Here are some things you can see and do in Barcelona on this special day:

  1. Explore the Ramblas: The iconic promenade, La Rambla, is bustling with activity on Sant Jordi’s Day. Stroll along the tree-lined boulevard and browse through the stalls of flowers, books, and crafts that line the street.
  2. Buy a book or a rose: Sant Jordi’s Day is known as the “Day of the Rose and the Book,” so why not indulge in this tradition? It is customary for couples to exchange gifts on this day, with men giving women a rose and women giving men a book.
  3. Visit the Casa Batlló: Antoni Gaudí’s architectural masterpiece, Casa Batlló, is a must-visit attraction in Barcelona. Explore the stunning interiors and admire the unique design elements that make this building one-of-a-kind.
  4. Take a walk in Park Güell: Another Gaudí masterpiece, Park Güell offers breathtaking views of the city along with whimsical architecture and colorful mosaics. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park and soak in the artistic charm.
  5. Try Catalan cuisine: Barcelona is renowned for its delicious Catalan cuisine. On Sant Jordi’s Day, you can treat yourself to local delicacies such as paella, tapas, and cava. Don’t forget to try the traditional Catalan dessert, crema catalana.
  6. Attend cultural events: Throughout the city, there are various cultural events taking place on Sant Jordi’s Day. From art exhibitions and live performances to poetry readings and book signings, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of La Rambla, explore the architectural wonders of Gaudí, or indulge in Catalan cuisine, Barcelona offers a multitude of experiences on 23 April for you to enjoy on the Festival of Sant Jordi.

What is the origin of the festival?

The Festival of Sant Jordi, also known as Saint George’s Day, has its origins in medieval Catalonia. It is celebrated on April 23rd every year to honor Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia and other regions around the world.

Saint George is a legendary figure who is said to have fought a dragon to save a princess. According to the story, a dragon was terrorizing a village, and in order to appease it, the villagers would sacrifice a young person each day by drawing lots. One day, the princess was chosen to be sacrificed, but before she could fulfill her fate, Saint George arrived and slayed the dragon, saving her life.

This heroic act made Saint George a revered figure, and his legend spread throughout Catalonia. The festival of Sant Jordi is a way for the people to celebrate Saint George and his valor. It is also a day to commemorate love and romance, as it coincides with the day of the death of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, two iconic literary figures.

Traditions and customs

Traditions and customs

On Sant Jordi’s Day, the streets of Catalonia come alive with vibrant colors and the aroma of roses and books. It is customary for couples to exchange gifts – men give their partners a rose, while women give their partners a book.

The tradition of giving roses dates back to medieval times, when men would give women roses as a sign of their love. This was inspired by the legend of Sant Jordi, who is said to have handed a red rose to the princess he saved. Today, streets and squares are filled with vendors selling roses in various colors and sizes.

The tradition of giving books was introduced in the 20th century, when the festival coincided with the anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare, two great literary figures. Bookstores set up stalls on the streets, and people browse through the wide selection of books available. It is a day when people come together to celebrate literature and promote reading.

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Festival of Sant Jordi: Date and Traditions

The Festival of Sant Jordi is one of the most original celebrations in Catalonia and takes place on April 23rd each year 1 . It is a festive occasion that combines culture and romanticism, celebrating both World Book Day and Valentine’s Day 1 . The festival is a celebration of Catalan culture and is dedicated to Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia 2 .

Traditions of the Festival

The Festival of Sant Jordi is known for the tradition of exchanging gifts between couples. Traditionally, men receive a book and women receive a rose 1 . However, over time, both men and women can receive books and roses 1 . Book and flower stalls are set up along the streets of Barcelona, particularly on the Rambla, which is the main meeting point for the festival 1 2 . People walk around the stalls, looking for gifts for their beloved, as well as for their family and friends 1 . The stalls offer the latest publications, and well-known artists may be present to sign copies of their books 1 . The streets are filled with the scent of roses, creating a vibrant and romantic atmosphere 1 .

The Festival of Sant Jordi is also seen as a time for promoting and defending the Catalan language and culture 2 . Many books in Catalan are available at the stalls, and the day is an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate Catalan literature 2 .

Historical Significance

The veneration of Sant Jordi in Catalonia dates back to the 8th century, and evidence of his worship can be found in many churches and chapels dedicated to his memory 3 . The festival has been celebrated in the Catalan land of Valencia since 1343 and in Majorca since 1407 3 . In 1456, the Catalan Parliament adopted a constitution in the cathedral of Barcelona, declaring Sant Jordi as a festival day 3 .

The festival has deep historical roots and is an important part of Catalan culture. It is celebrated enthusiastically in the region and is a regional feast day 4 . The festival has also become a celebration of Catalan identity and culture, with many balconies in the city decorated with the Catalan flag, known as the senyera 2 .


The Festival of Sant Jordi is a unique and vibrant celebration in Catalonia, taking place on April 23rd each year. It combines the celebration of World Book Day and Valentine’s Day, with the tradition of exchanging books and roses between couples. The festival is a celebration of Catalan culture, literature, and language. Book and flower stalls line the streets of Barcelona, creating a lively and romantic atmosphere. It is a special day to appreciate and promote Catalan traditions and heritage.