Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Sant Jordi's day, Barcelona
The 23rd April is "La Diada de Sant Jordi" (Sant Jordi's Day) in Barcelona, and it is the most romantic day of the year. It is also known as "El Día de Los Amantes" which means Lovers Day and "El día de la Rosa" which means Rose Day. On this day, every streets and squares of Barcelona are filled with hundreds of flower stands selling roses and book stands and the basic event is that men give women roses and women give men books. And nowadays it can be anybody, not necessarily your partner or sweethearts.
The most popular legend in Catalonia about Sant Jordi tells that at Montblanc, in Conca de Barberà, there was a terrible dragon which viciously attacked men and beasts. To pacify it, lots were drawn and a person was chosen to be given as a sacrifice to the monster. One day, the misfortune fell on the king's daughter, who would have died in the beast's claws if it had not been for the arrival of a handsome knight who challenged the dragon and killed it. Sant Jordi slew a dragon to save a beautiful princess and then gave her a red rose from a rose bush which had sprouted in the place where the dragon's red blood had spilled.
The 23rd April is also known as "World Book Day", which has been designated by Unesco as a celebration of reading and literature and is now marked in around 100 countries globally - of course - since several years ago, Japan celebrates this special day.
Additionally, this year 2013 has a special significance within the framework of Spanish-Japanese relations: it marks exactly 400 years since the first official Japanese delegation left Japan in 1613 on its way to Spain and Europe. Therefore, on this special day of the special year, I am thinking to gift a Japanese book to my Spanish friends who are learning Japanese...and probably I would gift a tin of Japanease Tea Matcha as well so that they can enjoy the reading time in total relax.
Have a nice Sant Jordi's day and hope you can find an ideal book that you really want to gift to your important person.