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April 23rd is a unique day in Catalunya. Everyone’s happy. Everyone feels loved. Everyone is out on the streets. Or so it seems. The celebration of Catalunya’s patron saint, Sant Jordi (Saint George in English) is often cited by locals as their favourite day of the year, and it’s not hard to understand why (provided that it’s sunny; a rainy Sant Jordi is no fun for anybody). The original combination of romance and heroism, what with Jordi killing the dragon to save the princess and all that, has been successfully translated into a day of love and affection far more classy than anything that Saint Valentine could hope to arrange (although, the underlying commercialism of extortionate roses and the busiest day of the year for Catalunya’s book-sellers can’t be completely ignored).
If this is your first Sant Jordi, the order of the day is best summed up as man buys lover a rose, woman buys lover a book. But what a choice of blooms, in every shape, size and colour (and price) while the bookshops go all out to entice shoppers to their stalls, which fill the main city streets, with special discounts and (celebrity) author signings.
More information here.