The celebrations revolve around Sant Jordi, a knight who saved a beautiful princess from a dragon. Sant Jordi slayed the dragon and its blood turned into a beautiful rosebush. Sant Jordi picked a red rose and gave it to the princess, establishing the tradition for men to hand a rose to their loved ones. Then, towards the end of the 1920s, following Vicente Clavel’s (a Valencian bookseller in Barcelona) initiative to organise a national bookday, local book editors and seller decided to move the day to coincide not only with Sant Jordi’s Day but also of those of Cervantes and Shakespeare, recognised as World Book Day by UNESCO. Since then, St. Jordi has been Catalunya’s particular version of Valentine ’s Day, blending romance with culture.
Even though it normally falls on a working day, the festival is declared a National Day, while many balconies are bedecked with senyeres (Catalan flags), a reflection of the specific Catalan nature of this very special day. If you wish to find out more this original festival in Girona, please contact our resident services.