Hi there, it’s Gem once again.
I’m writing today because today it is a really important day. It is the 107thday of the EVS. And not, it is not important because two days ago we passed halfway of this journey.
Today is the 23rd of April. For some people, this day means nothing more than just any other common date, but for me and I assume some Catalan people means much more. So, without more expectation, I can say that today is Sant Jordi day♥!
Being grown up in Barcelona brought me the opportunity to enjoy for 23 Sant Jordi days straight the beauty of the capital covered with roses and books. And yes, you can imagine how happy I feel about this day and at the same time, how sad I feel to break the tradition, it might be the first time that I feel homesick.
So, what exactly makes this day so special you might wonder? Well, let’s start from the
beginning. As every good tradition, it starts with a story. The story relates the life in a kingdom back in the time, a little kingdom that had a king and the population were mostly working the lands and having animals. It was a beautiful tiny kingdom, but it had a problem, an infamous dragon lived in a cave next to the habitants lived and to keep it away from the civilians, the king ordered to bring to the dragon every day a different animal, anything would work. They started with the sheep, then the cows, then the pigs, and finally the chickens. Eventually, the kingdom ran out of animals and the king ordered to sacrifice a young (virgin) girl every day to keep the dragon away from the other citizens. A lottery system was implemented with the names of all the girls, to pick which one would be offered to the dragon daily, but sadly things turn out badly so quickly that no one could have ever predicted.
The very first day of the lottery system, the name that was chosen, was the princess, the king’s daughter. The king with all the pain in his body had to agree on letting the young princess go and be eaten by the dragon. Once the young girl was in front of the cave and could feel the presence of the dragon just a few steps away from her, she really felt afraid for her life. She closed her eyes to didn’t see how she would die and for her surprise, she heard the noise of a horse, she opened her eyes and saw in front of her and between her and the dragon a handsome knight on a horse. The knight had a lance with him, and he didn’t doubt for a second and impaled the dragon with it. In a few seconds, the dragon died in front of the sight of the young princess and the brave knight. As soon as the blood from the dragon touched the ground something magic happened, from the blood, beautiful red roses were growing. Then, the brave knight dismounted the horse and grabbed the most beautiful red rose and gave it to the young princess and they fall in love immediately. Then the knight was received in the kingdom as the best knight of all times and the king approved his marriage with the princess. And like all good stories, they lived happily ever after.
Such a beautiful legend, isn’t? Nowadays, the tradition is based on the story and goes as follows. The boy gives to his lover a rose as a proof of his love to her and the girl gives her lover a book to keep the tradition ongoing. For this reason, Sant Jordi is the very Catalan St. Valentine’s day and also the national book day, it is the only day in the year that books have a discount of 10%.
To celebrate the beauty of this day, we hosted in the Human Rights Café a little Catalan Cultural Evening today with the help of Angel. We started with a quiz about Catalan traditions and the winner received a book and a rose, the traditional prize. Then we had a little Catalan class of language and culture. And to end the day, we showed the movie “L’auberge espagnole” which is recorded in Barcelona. All accompanied by Catalan delicacies: bread with tomato and ham or bread with oil and sugar.
Thank you all that joined♥!
P.S. Here you can see a compilation of photos of the evening: