Sant Jordi’s Day – a local Valentine’s?

Sant Jordis Day in Barcelona

Everything you want to know about Sant Jordi and Day’s celebrations in one article.

 

The story

First, let’s make it clear, that Catalan people are very proud people. It concerns not only their intention to be a separate state it also conveys to their traditions, customs, cuisine and… actually everything.

Sant Jordi in Barcelona

Catalan people decided that they don’t want to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, like the rest of Europe and they want to have their own feast for those who are in love and even a date to celebrate is very different from 14th of February.

So to make a long story short there was a guy who’s name was Jordi. ¬†And one day he basically manages to save a princess who is about to become a dragon’s yummy lunch. But this huge lizard becomes a victim itself.

Jordi uses all the martial arts he mastered (in Catalunya, I guess) and kills the dragon. And suddenly right from the dragon’s blood (poor lizard!) grows a beautiful red rose which, of course, St. Jordi gives to the sexy princess (some sources reveal, she was Russian), as a symbol of his devotion to her.

Sant Jordi killing the dragon

They fall madly in love, and ever since this day, 23 April, celebrates this magical feeling in all the region of Catalunya. ¬

What is curious, that on the day girls are given one red rose symbolizing their beauty, while guys get a book as a symbol of their intelligence. ¬†well-well…do I need to comment this?

Sant Jordis Book and Rose

Anyways, you might be interested what’s on in Barcelona during San Jordi.

 

Book markets

Book markets are spread over Barcelona along central streets, such as La Rambla, Rambla de Catalunya, Passeig Sant Joan etc.

It is a great experience to squeeze into the crowds of people, trying to fetch some cherished book among new ones, special offers, and books signed by a famous author.

It goes without saying that majority of books are in Catalan (or Spanish), which is definitely useless if you haven’t mastered any of two languages yet. (I usually just stroll around looking for the coolest pictures).

Here’s the map where you can find the main 3 book markets and the other main activities during Sant Jordi.

 

Sardanes

In case you are willing to experience more Catalan traditions, you should head to Plaza St. Jaume, where at 7:00 pm you will have the opportunity to become a spectator of a traditional Catalan dance.

You said Flamenco???!! Nothing to do with it! ¬†It is called Sardanes dance… Don’t expect to see a passionate show with long red skirts…

sardana local dance

Catalans Sardanes is not too exciting for my taste, nevertheless, you should definitely see it, at least ones! Gracious movements and the sense of rhythm are expected from you if you’d wish to join the dancing crowd.

 

Casa Batllo

In a festive spree don’t forget to pass by La Casa Batllo. All over its facade, it is decorated with beautiful red roses, giving ¬†Gaudi’s masterpiece a new stunning look.

Casa Batllo decorated during Sant Jordi

By the way, if you can’t wait to donate blood for the good of humanity there’s a mobile blood bank bus parked just in front of the building, where you could successfully fulfil¬†your need for hypothetically saving someone’s life. You surely be able to find it by its characteristic colours.

Sant Jordi's blood bank bus

 

City Hall

Sant Jordi is also an open day at Barcelona City Hall. From 10 am to 8 pm public will meet actors, representing the most famous figures of the local history, who will guide them through exciting salons and halls.

Barcelona City Hall

The princess and St. Jordi are going to be there as well, and if you are fond of manipulations, you might be eager to watch a puppet show which also takes place there.

 

BCN Film Festival

BCN Film Festival

The new film festival in Barcelona is dedicated to Sant Jordi’s Day boasting with the idea to attract different audiences and nationalities.

It’s getting there, however, at a slow pace. Most of the movies are shown in original version with subtitles, however, the website is only in Spanish and Catalan. I would definitely have my eye on Churchill, Marie Curie and Nagasaki.

You could find the full schedule for the week here

 

Musical Sant Jordi

Sant Jordi Musical

There’s gonna be a free admission Music Fest, celebrated in one of the renowned stages – Old Estrella Damm factory.

You probably won’t recognise any of the artists, neither will I but it matters not. ¬†I’m pretty sure you will be pleased by good vibes of local musicians and will share this joy with your friends.

More roses, books, beers and food trucks and lots of people are to be expected at this event. Brace yourself!

 

Born Mercat Gourmet

Been there, done that. Every third weekend of the month, there’s a market for local products and activities located in Born district, and I certainly consider¬†one of the best city activities so far.

Check my short video about the last Born Mercat Gourmet in March

It’s not so popular yet so the atmosphere is quite relaxed and cheerful, live music, grilled¬†calcots and artichokes are in the menu, there’s also a fresh fish and grocery market along with traditional jamons, sausages, cheeses, sweets, and honey from the farmers.

Lots of sun¬†and smiles, blooming trees and a good choice of beverages, from classic Vichy Catalan to artisan toasted beers to bubbly Cava and rich wine. Don’t miss it!

 

Brunch – In the City #4: Tama Sumo, Bedouin, El Guincho

I once heard El Guincho during good old BAM festival during La Merce¬†and had been following this weird group ever since. No idea who’s the other musicians playing but it’s promising enough for me.

EL GUINCHO | Bombay from MGdM | Marc Gómez del Moral on Vimeo.

 

What can I say? Poble Espanyol is a great place to visit when in the city, and if you add a mix of some good (or weird) music, friends and good weather, it sounds like a plan for me.

The last release of the tickets is 20 euros and it’s quite a lot to ask for what it is, especially when there’s a lot of similar activities in the city for free. But, consider it as an option.

 

On the official City Hall’s website, you can find more activities, related to Sant Jordi’s Day.

If you are not a fan of crowds, fetch a bottle of champagne and head to one of the top beaches ( the farther from Barceloneta district the better).

Spend this day on a golden sand, observing the city embracing the beauty and warmth of the spring.

Make up your own legend… there is no specific day to celebrate love, every day is special… ¬†¬

Yours,

JT

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