Celebrating the Day of Saint Jordi
Saint George’s Day is celebrated on April 23rd and it’s considered as the Catalan Valentine’s day. The streets of the city are filled with stalls selling fresh roses and the sweet words of literature, making it inevitable to feel the festive romantic atmosphere. It is traditional that a man gives roses to a woman and a woman in return gifts a book… although most woment expect to receive a book too nowadays!
The 23rd of April is also National Book Day, which in part commemorates the death of the important authors Shakespeare and Cervantes. Thus, it has become traditional to give the latest novels or classic reads as gifts during this day. Many places likesuch as Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gràcia, and Rambla Catalunya will be prepared with a great deal of rose and book stalls for the special day. Click here for more activities.
The Legend lives on
On April 21 – 23, the legend of Sant Jordi will come to life at Casa Batlló. The façade will be decorated in roses, and the courtyard will be filled with roses, as a reference to the shedding of the dragon’s blood after it was slain. Together with the Banc de Sang i Teixits (BST) of the Generalitat of Catalonia, citizens will help bring this artistic representation to life. From 10am to 9pm on April 21- 23, a mobile unit will be located in front of Casa Batlló (corner of Aragon y Passeig de Gràcia) and specialized medical personnel will welcome donors who want to collaborate to this cause. For more information visit Casa Batlló.
Anyone who enjoys of good health and meets the necessary requirements can be a donor. If you cannot be a donor, you are encouraged to join the cause and share it on your social networks using #MésQueUnaRosa. Despite scientific and technological advances, blood cannot be manufactured. Thus, every day 1000 blood donations are needed to meet the needs of all the sick in Catalonia. The Banc de Sang i Teixits is the entity responsible for the collection of blood, its processing, and subsequent transfusion, through the ‘vein-to-vein’ model.
The campaign “Drac & Roses” aims to unite the cultural heritage that represents Casa Batlló with an off-base action to bring the architectural history to the necessity of blood donation. The legend of Sant Jordi is represented on the façade of Casa Batlló and in its interior. The scale like roof representing the dragon, the cross of Sant Jordi as the slaying sword, the balcony of the Princess or the columns and balconies in the form of bones, that identify Casa Batlló, are the elements that function as a pretext for the celebration.
A long time ago in the town of Montblanc (present day Tarragona) there lived a dragon. The people of Montblanc lived in fear because every day one of them was randomly selected to be fed to the dragon. For years, the dragon continued to petrify the people but one day, the Princess was selected as the dragon’s dinner. As the Princess made her way to the dragon, a gentleman riding a white horse while dressed in a shining armor breezed in to rescue her. The gentleman, whose name was Sant Jordi, drew his sword and pierced the dragon to its death rescuing the Princess and releasing the people from their tumult. From the blood of the dragon grew a rose bush with the most beautiful roses. Brave Sant Jordi picked a rose from the bush and offered it to the Princess. And so was born the legend and day of Sant Jordi.