How to celebrate Sant Jordi in Barcelona
Discover our BYHOURS guide with the main events to enjoy the Diada de Sant Jordi 2019 in Barcelona. Sant Jordi’s is mostly about browsing the city and enjoying the atmosphere of romance and love.
La Diada de Sant Jordi is one of the most anticipated and beloved celebrations of the year in Barcelona. Every April 23 the streets of the city are filled with people and stands selling books and roses, in a day that includes concerts, free entrances to emblematic buildings, solidarity initiatives, exhibitions of popular culture, literary fairs and much more.So that you do not miss out on so much, here’s a Sant Jordi 2019 guide with the main secrets you should know to enjoy a festivity that unites romanticism and culture in equal parts.
The festival is celebrated in honor of Sant Jordi, patron saint of Catalonia,. Also known as Saint George. The day revolves around two main themes: culture (represented by books) and love (symbolized by roses).
April 23 is considered by the Catalans as the true day of lovers (instead of Valentine’s – Feb 14th) and also coincides with the International Book Day, which is celebrated on this day by coinciding theoretically with the date William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes both died.
The Legend of Sant Jordi
The legend explains that a long time ago, in Montblanc (Tarragona Catalunya) a fierce dragon capable of poisoning the air and killing with his breath, had frightened the inhabitants of the city. The inhabitants, scared and tired of its ravages and misdeeds, decided to calm him by feeding a person a day.
After several days, it was the princess’s unlucky day. When the princess left her home and headed for the dragon, a knight named Sant Jordi, wearing shining armor and riding a white horse, suddenly appeared to come to her rescue.
Sant Jordi raised his sword and pierced the dragon, finally freeing the princess and the citizens. From the dragon’s blood rose a rose with the reddest roses that had ever been seen. Sant Jordi, triumphant, plucked a rose and offered it to the princess.
Although the tradition says that in Sant Jordi the man has to give a rose to the woman, and in return she gives him a book. Nowadays it’s quiet different, it is usual to give books and roses to boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, friends, relatives … and, of course, to oneself.
Many roses have the message ‘t’estimo‘ – ‘I love you‘ in Catalan language.
Overall, about 7 million roses in total are sold on Sant Jordi! With 20% from Catalunya and 80% imported of othem have to be imported. You don’t have to look far for a rose stall – they will be everywhere.
In addition to the romantic component, the Sant Jordi Day is also a day for the promotion of reading and the defense of Catalan tradition and culture.
La Rambla, the epicenter of Sant Jordi
The Rambla and all the way up Passeig de Gracia become the center for the celebration. In the middle of a great festive atmosphere, a tide of people take to the most famous street of Barcelona to walk in search of roses and the perfect book for a loved one.
If you go from the statue of Columbus to the Plaça de Catalunya, in addition to enjoying the innumerable stalls of books and beautiful roses of all colors, you may even find one of your favorite writers signing books to their readers.
Sant Jordi is truly a treat for the eyes with the streets filled with stalls selling beautiful flowers. Make sure to bring your camera, take a stroll, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the day Catalan-style.
Free entrance to many attractions
In Sant Jordi, museums, institutions and other spaces open their doors for free.
You can enter to the following museums for free today because of San Jordi:
Palau Güell: one of the architectural jewels created by Antonio Gaudí. It is located on Nou de la Rambla street in Barcelona, off the ramblas, near the port and the seafront of the city.
The Hospital de Sant Pau: Tthe most important work of Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
The decoration of the buildings of the Modernist Enclosure actually hide many references to the dragon and the rose. Coinciding with the free admission day of Sant Jordi (April 23, from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.), Sant Pau invites you to discover all these secrets with the help of a practical plan that will lead you through the most beautiful spaces of the heritage complex.
There will also be music. At 12 noon, a concert will take place in the Domènech i Montaner Hall. During the recital, several artists with intellectual disabilities will create artwork to the rhythm of music. It is an artistic expression activity carried out in collaboration with the Victoria de los Ángeles Foundation, Catalònia Fundació Creativa and the Community Resources Unit Dr. Pi i Molist (Hospital de Sant Pau). For more info click here.
Other buildings with free admission:
Casa Batllo by Gaudi gets covered in roses just for today Sany Jordi, however, Antoni Gaudí represented the legend of Sant Jordi in the architecture of Casa Batlló so that over the years this fantastic tradition would remain alive.
The scaly roof symbolizes the dragon and the bones of the dragon’s victims frame the Casa Battlo windows. It is truly beautiful, a must see.
The mythical legend is represented in Casa Batlló on the facade and in two specific places inside the house. On the roof the dragon’s back comes alive with the ceramic tiles in the form of scales and the back is pierced by the cross of four arms that evokes Saint George´s triumphant sword.
Treat your loved one to a lovely romantic microstay in a hotel in Barcelona. On BYHOURS there are many options for hotels, a few examples are seen below with these central hotels:
Hotel Indigo Barcelona –Plaza Catalunya ****
It is just 200 meters from Passeig de Gràcia and offers an outdoor pool with a terrace. Plaça Catalunya is about 4 minutes away on foot. Gaudí’s famous Pedrera House and Casa Batlló are also just a 10-minute walk away. The Indigo hotel is a perfect refuge if you get tired of the crowds and want a more relaxed setting.
The elegant rooms at Hotel Indigo have a Gaudi inspired design.
One of our favourites for a romantic escapade is the Gran Hotel Havana, in Casa Fradera, a beautiful historic building dating from 1882. The hotel is located on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, the hotel is a 10 min walk from Plaza Catalunya.
The hotel features a rooftop pool with a terrace, where you can enjoy views overlooking Gran Via and most of the city.
You will also find the Grand Palace Restaurant which serves traditional food and the Dome bar with live music every day.