Sant Jordi, or Saint George's Day is much more than a simple feast day in Barcelona. It is the Catalan equivalent to Valentines Day and love is in the air! Each year, the streets are filled with people strolling around grasping books and roses wrapped in ribbons in the colours of the Catalan flag.
Sant Jordi is not a public holiday; therefore all of the shops and restaurants are open as normal. However, there is no mistaking the feeling that this is fiesta time.
The story of Sant Jordi is the same as the one that is known worldwide. Saint George was a hero - he saved a beautiful Princess who was about to come to a sticky end at the hands of a dragon who had been terrorising a village. The various versions of the story but these facts always remain the same. Sant Jordi is the Patron Saint of Catalunya and his tale is well-known throughout the city.
The basic idea for Sant Jordi is that men give women roses and women give men books. And it can be anybody, not necessarily your partner or somebody who you have taken a liking to! For this feast, boys buy roses for their mums; girls buy books for their friends. Also, in today's forward thinking society the rules are no longer set regarding who gets what. A girl is just as likely to receive a book and vice versa.
The streets and squares of Barcelona are filled with stalls selling books and roses. It is a picturesque sight in the Spring sunshine. Couples walk hand in hand clutching roses. The buses are jam packed with old Catalan people, tipsy from a day of strolling from bookshop to vermouth stop.
During Sant Jordi stalls crop up all over town. However, for the largest concentration of stalls it is best to head to the large square and streets:
Plaza Sant Jame
Metro: Jaume I (Yellow Line, L4)
Metro: Catalunya (Red Line, L1) or (Green Line, L3)
Metro: Drassanes (Green Line, L3)
All in all, the Feast of Sant Jordi is a great place to be in Barcelona. Take a stroll, soak up the atmosphere and learn to enjoy the day Spanish-style!