It is generally difficult for a big, busy city to stay faithful to its traditions, celebrations and fiestas, but Barcelona is an example that it can be done. There is not a week without some sort of celebration. People care about their traditions, they enjoy each and every little reason to be together, no matter what.
There are some fiestas that I somewhat dislike, but there are many more that I simply adore. My favorite of them all takes place on the 23rd of April: Sant Jordi (Which I guess stands for Saint George´s Day).
International Book Day takes place on the same date, so this is a bit of a mixed celebration. It is basically a books and roses day and there are some who like to call it Catalan Valentine´s Day, but I think that is not completely accurate.
First thing first: this is not a public holiday, unfortunately. That means that when it is a working day, there is limited time to walk around and seize the moment.
For a bit of background: Sant Jordi is the patron of Catalunya. 23rd of April is the day he died and apparently he lost his life as a Christian martyr. There a lot of connections with dragons and other fiction stories linked to his name. He became Catalunya´s patron in 1456 and the celebrations in Barcelona are larger from the second half of the nineteenth century. In the fifteenth century, St. Jordi meant a roses celebration, attended especially by young couples planning to marry soon. That´s all the bit of history I could gather, it is not my strong point, truth be told 🙂
Back to the present, this fiesta now means roses and books. There a multitude of stalls selling books and roses. There a lot of Catalan flags on display (Even more than usual). Many stalls are run by organisations in need of money, but generally the city is packed with stalls of all sorts.
For the book section of the fiesta, one can experience a multitude of book signings, launches and all of that, extremely enjoyable.
What else? The City Hall can be visited, there are many activities for kids, Casa Batlló generally puts on an awesome display (not sure if that will happen this year, since they are renovating the facade – a lot of information is available here).
The only downside would be that there are many people on the streets 🙂 As always, you need to pay attention to pickpockets and try to be as present as possible.
Everything you need to know about schedule, points of interest or other details is here.
I cannot explain in words how beautiful this fiesta is here. It has such a special vibe and the energy is almost overwhelming. Cannot wait to get out and live it to the fullest!