Catalonia celebrates its own Valentine’s Day

Celebrovsky, Pilar

Today Catalonia holds one of its most treasures festivities: Sant Joan (George’s Day). Streets fill out with stalls selling books and roses, and entire families take the streets in order to show love for their ‘special ones’ and for reading. This isn’t an ordinary day; here is the day in which love is celebrated and girlfriends get a rose while boyfriends are gifted with a book.

Red rose, Sant Jordi
Red rose, Sant Jordi

But… where does this tradition come from? To find it out we need to go back in time to XV Century, in concrete, to Montblanc. There, the story tells that once upon a time a fierce dragon was stalking the tiny town, killing livestock and leaving filthy smell across the village with his bad breath.

In an attempt to save the village,  the King and the locals decided to do a draw among all the villagers and the person selected would be release to the dragon, being so unfortunate that days later that individual would be the King’s daughter, the little princess. Getting closer to the dragon and about to be eaten, out of sudden a knight showed up and killed the dragon and where the dragon blood was spilled a rose bush flourish. When the knight saw the roses cannot help but giving one to the princess, without knowing that with such a lovely gesture he was setting a tradition that it is likely to last forever.

Have you celebrate this day? If so, have you be received a book, a rose or both?  Let me know what do you think about this festivity!

 

 

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