Día de Sant Jordi - Saint George's Day

Local fiestas

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sant Jordi's day will be celebrated on July 23, instead of April 23.

The day of Sant Jordi in Catalonia is the day when the streets are filled with stalls of roses and books. It is tradition that men give women a rose and that women give a book to men. We say it in plural because nowadays not only roses are given to the partner, but also to friends, colleagues ....

But, where does this Sant Jordi tradition come from?

From medieval legends, Sant Jordi, the knight who killed the dragon and saved a princess and the town in which he lived. From the blood of the dragon that spurted out grew a rosebush. From the gentleman who became a Saint for not persecuting Christians in the final stage of the Roman Empire, and from a “Lover's” Fair being held in Barcelona in the fifteenth century. And the April 23rd is also the International Day of the Book, so to the custom of giving a rose was added the habit of giving a book (1930).

Stalls of books and roses, where to find them?

April 23 is not a holiday but it seems, because the streets of Barcelona are full of people and bustle. A day to wander around Barcelona, a day for men to become symbolically and ephemerally gentlemen and women into princesses, and a day to encourage the sale of books and, hopefully, also reading. But where are the stalls selling books and roses? Well, everywhere, In any corner, you can find a stall selling roses, sometimes consisting of a small table with a bucket of roses, other stalls are larger and more elaborate. Any neighborhood bookstore will set up a stall in front of their store, but if you want to go to the area with the highest concentration of stalls, which is a real fair, then you have to go downtown, to Plaça Catalunya. And from there you go down La Rambla or go up Passeig de Gràcia.

Puesto de libros en el día de Sant Jordi
Foto Francis Lenn (CC BY 2.0)

Open doors at the Barcelona City Hall

On Sant Jordi Day, the City Council of Barcelona celebrates an open day. The tour starts at the door of the street of the Ciutat (Gothic facade) and you can visit the Black Scale, the Capella del Bon Consell, the Saló de Cròniques, the Saló del Bon Govern, the Sala del Treball, the office of the mayor, the Saló de Carles Pi i Sunyer, the Saló de Cent, the Saló del Consolat de Mar, the Sala Tàpies, the Saló de Carles III, the Despatx d'Honor, the Saló de la Ciutat, the Gòtica Gallery and the Escala d'Honor. Several historical figures will receive visitors in the noble halls of the City Hall and in the courtyard of the City Hall there will be a shadow puppet show about the legend of Sant Jordi, by the Sant Camil Workshop.

Note: the schedule and other details about this open day in 2020 are pending.

Opening hours: 10.00 am - 6.00 pm
Schedule of the shadow puppet show: 11.00 - 17.00 (every 30 minutes)