Saint George´s Festival of the Rose and the Book

23 April


10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Books and roses on the Passeig Marimon Asprer

11:00 p.m .: Guided visit and discovery of the Municipal Library. Pre-registration to cityviva@labisbal.cat is required

5:30 pm : Children's entertainment Fresco Grilled with the company of Parranda (Xarxa)

6.30 pm: Audition of sardanas with the song Els Rossinyolets (Friends of the Sardana)

20 h .: Award of the Novel Empordà Award, to the Library.


In Catalonia, April 23, at least since the 15th century, has been revered as the dia dels enamorats or lovers' day, on which the enamoured are supposed to give a blood-red rose to their beloveds.

Towards the end of the 1920s, Vicente Clavel, a Valencian resident of Barcelona, realising that Sant Jordi's deathday coincided with those of Cervantes and Shakespeare, decided to encourage people to give books as well as roses to their loved ones, an idea welcomed with open arms by his fellow publishers.

Since then, on Sant Jordi's day (even under Franco, when the open sale of Catalan language books was banned for 39 years), the citizens of Catalonia have flocked to the centres of their villages, towns and cities to get a rose and a book for their spouses, lovers, offspring or parents. Writers sign books and roses are sold by dozens upon dozens of street vendors dotted among the bookstalls.

By nine o'clock, it is hard to believe that for the last 12 hours, hundreds of thousands of people have shifted their way along the boulevards of Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida and all the smaller towns in between: families and lovers and groups of friends eyeing covers, inspecting rose petals, exchanging books, exchanging roses, all of it, nominally at least, in the name of love: family love, couple love, erotic love. There is, indeed, nothing like Catalonia's dia dels enamorats anywhere else on this planet. Saint Valentine, eat your heart out.

Matthew Tree, The Guardian, 23 April 2011

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