My name is Alex and I’m doing an internship here at Camino! I’m 21 years old and I’m studying French and Spanish at Edinburgh University so working here is a great opportunity to practice and learn more Spanish and live in Barcelona!
As I’m sure you are all aware Barcelona is a fantastic city to be in, no matter how long you’re here for as there is always something to do and see! I love the beautiful architecture of the city and the sunshine which definitely makes a change from rainy England! As you know there is always lots going on in the city but in this blog I’m going to talk about one particular day in April when the city really comes alive!
This day is the festival of San Jordi on April 23rd, a day that combines World Book Day with Barcelona’s equivalent of Valentine’s Day. San Jordi is a patron saint and as legend has it, he slayed the dragon to save the princess in a town just south of Barcelona. From the dragon’s blood grew a rosebush and San Jordi picked the prettiest rose to give to the princess and so it is today that on the day of San Jordi all women, from little schoolgirls to elderly grandmothers are given a rose!
In 1923 this festival was joined with World Book Day because April 23rd also marks the anniversary of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare who both died in 1616. To celebrate this part of the day there is a bookstall the WHOLE length of La Rambla (that’s 1.2km!) and in return for their roses women are supposed to give men a book!
There is so much happening in Barcelona on this day from a 24 hour reading of Don Quijote to jazz bands in the gothic quarter, dances in Plaça Sant Jaume and amazing flower displays everywhere! As it gets dark you will find the floor of La Rambla strewn with rose petals and little red and yellow ribbons with the words ‘San Jordi’ and ‘Diada de la Rosa’. Make sure you join in all the fun when you have finished classes for the day!