Known as Saint George a Greek soldier for Roman Emperor, who has been sentenced to dead for not refusing his faith just like other martyrs we know, so far. However Saint George is too more famous and loved saint ever and the patron saint of countless countries, cities, universities, professions and organisations. I guess this is due to the story of the princess and the dragon.
The legend describes the saint taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices; the saint thereby rescues the princess chosen as the next offering. Not sure if the soldier and the princes were in love but who cares, since we have the dragon, an undoubtedly beautiful princess and the martyr soldier. It´s bound to be an immortal story and here we are centuries later celebrating St Georg´s day throughout the world.
Well, as I said the fellow is patron saint of England, Georgia, Greece, Catalonia and the long etcetera. In Georgia they have even built 365 churches of Saint George for each day of the year and I´ve seen many celebrations and I´d say the Catalan La Diada de Sant Jordi is the most beautiful, enjoyable and once in-a lifetime experience.
In Catalonia April 23 is their patron Sant Jordi´s day and happens to coincide with international book´s day held as a tribute to Shakespeare and Cervantes, since, according to another legend they both died that day.
Following the tradition man gives a rose to woman and woman gives a book to the man. Entire Catalonia is invaded by books and roses. Thousands of roses are sold, though more roses than books but the booksellers do not complain, some have reported that Saint Jordi´s day sales equals year-round sales.
Crowds standing in long queues in front of book stops where writers sign and chat with the readers, with their saint patron watching them from Gaudi’s Casa Batllo facade after beating the dragon. Needless to say that almost half of Catalan males are Jordi named after Saint and the most prestigious distinction awarded by government of Catalonia is precisely the cross of Sant Jordi. Walking around Catalonia and especially its capital you´ll find the patron saint in every corner.
To sum up, if I had decided visit Catalonia, I´d do it April 23.
Leave a Reply