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Sant Jordi (home)
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Sant Jordi slaying the dragon
Impress your friends with these facts about Catalunya's patron saint:
- Sant Jordi was named the patron of Catalunya by the Generalitat in 1456, although he had been venerated here from the eighth century.
- Traditionally, the nobility and upper classes would take part in a mass in the Sant Jordi chapel at the Palau de la Generalitat on April 23rd, coinciding with a romantic Rose Fair also held at the palace.
– April 23rd is the day when William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes are said to have died, both in 1626. This convergence of the passing of such significant writers was the reason the date of Spain’s Day of the Book was changed in 1930 from October 7th.
- When the Day of the Book was changed to April 23rd, it gradually became incorporated with different celebrations and traditions in Catalunya. It took hold here partly because some people regarded it as the Diada (national day of Catalunya, actually celebrated on September 11th); in much of Spain, however, the celebration of the Day of the Book gradually disappeared over time.
- In 1995, April 23rd was declared the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day.
-15th: the century from which dates the earliest record of the celebration of a Rose Fair on the day of Sant Jordi at the Palau de la Generalitat.
-Book sales on the day of Sant Jordi represent between five and eight percent of annual sales in Catalunya. Last year’s top-seller in fiction in Catalan was L'analfabeta que va salvar un país by Jonas Jonasson and in Castillian, Las tres bodas de Manolita by Almudena Grandes.
- 18.4: the amount in millions of euros that was made from book sales on Sant Jordi 2014.
CATALUNYA’S VERSION OF THE SANT JORDI LEGEND
Sant Jordi (or Saint George) was a Roman soldier in the third century CE, who was eventually killed for speaking out against the persecution of his fellow Christians. He has been adopted as the patron saint in many countries, regions and cities, which each give their own spin to his story. In England, his appearance at key moments of some of the Crusades in the Middle Ages apparently sparked his original popularity there, whereas it was in Eastern Orthodox portrayals of the man that dragons and maidens are thought to have originated. There is also the work, The Golden Legend, a 13th-century collection of saints’ lives, which set a story of George and the dragon in Libya. Here in Catalunya, both Jordi’s role in helping embattled soldiers and his legendary dragon-slaying have found their place in local tales. The story of a town besieged by a fearsome dragon that has to keep the creature’s threats at bay by sacrificing its own inhabitants (eventually ending up with the daughter of the king, which is the moment that Jordi steps up to the plate) is, according to the Catalan version of events, not set across the Mediterranean but rather took place in the country town of Montblanc. Nowadays, the town makes the most of its famous association with Sant Jordi with a special medieval fair each April.
WHAT YOUR ROSE SAYS ABOUT YOU
RED—love and admiration
ORANGE—passion and desire
RED AND WHITE—togetherness
BRIGHT RED—internal beauty