When is it happening?
Sant Jordi’s Day is celebrated every year on April 23rd and it is an event that mobilizes the entire city. It is a beautiful tradition for both locals and tourists and is definitely worth seeing.
What is celebrated? The origin of this day comes from a mixture of traditions from different centuries. It has to do with the legend of a knight called Sant Jordi, who killed a dragon in order to save the princess. This is why he is now known as the patron saint for the couples in Cataluña. In addition, April 23rd is also known as the International Book Day by UNESCO since 1996 because Shakespeare and Cervantes died that day.
Where and how it is celebrated?
It is a very romantic day where men give flowers to women and the women give books to the men. Nowadays, it is a great festival where these gifts are not only made between couples but also between family and friends. It is a moment of union among the whole community.
Especially the area of the Rambla will be full of people exchanging gifts and walking along the stands all over the street. In many bookstores there will be writers to give autographs. Go there and get your favourite writer to dedicate a book to you! For sure you will have to queue, but if you arrive on time you will surely be able to make it. Most writers make a daily route through several stops and libraries in the city so there are plenty of opportunities. Not only local but also international writers meet in Barcelona once a year for the Sant Jordi day to meet and greet their readers.
It is also the perfect day to visit the Palace of the Generalitat because they celebrate a day of open doors. In the gallery you can buy beautiful roses and books from several charity stands. Furthermore there will also be many music concert. The official program of activities also includes a mass in the chapel of Sant Jordi and the blessing of roses in the Gothic courtyard of the building.
For booksellers and publishers it is the best day of the year for their sales and for the readers it is a unique opportunity to be very close to their favorite authors! Check out these 4 libraries you can visit:
1) Arkham comics:
It is fairly small but full of good books. You can find comics, merchandising, and more! (Carrer Xuclà 16)
Located in the neighborhood of Gracia. They specialize in novels and usually organize reading activities so it is a place of reference. (Milà i Fontanals 59)
3) Le Nuvole:
It is full of Italian literature, so if you are interested in the language or you are Italian this is the perfect place (Sant Lluís 11)
It has two large floors that are full of information you might need before traveling: guides, language books, maps and also inspirational novels or stories from travellers from remote times. (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 616)