The Suitcase Lady


April 23, 2019, 9:37 pm

I am ecstatic. Hopeless romantic that I am, I have recently discovered another Valentine’s Day to celebrate. And this holiday combines romance with books and roses…..what could possibly be better? Even the setting is wondrous, as it takes place in Barcelona.

St. Jordi’s Day is the name of the event which is celebrated on April 23, the day of  St. Jordi’s death in 303 A.D. The Catalan name for St. George is Sant Jordi, and he is the patron saint of Catalonia. Legend has it that the good Saint slew a dragon to save a princess and then plucked a red rose for the princess from a rose bush that magically sprouted from where the dragon’s blood had spilled. The holiday is also known as El Dia de la Rosa (Rose Day) and El Dia los Amantes (Lover’s Day).

World Book Day is also celebrated in Barcelona simultaneously with the St. Jordi’s Day festivities.  This juxtaposition came about as both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes also died on April 23.

Las Ramblas, the famous Main Street in Barcelona, turns into a sea of stalls selling books and roses on the holiday. Many of the stalls sell flowers and books to support charities, and the city council has a program that distributes roses to the elderly, as love isn’t only for the young.

The order of the day is for men to give a red rose to their lady and the women to reciprocate with a book. The red roses are decorated with a sprig of wheat and a tiny Catalonia flag which is four red stripes on a gold background. An amazing 7 million roses are sold on this most romantic of days.

And, of course, no holiday is celebrated without food. So along with the romance, roses and books, the Catalonians eat cake, special St. Jordi Day cakes.


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