You’ll find many references to St. George (Sant Jordi) throughout Catalan culture and each year St. George’s Day (La Diada de Sant Jordi) is celebrated on April 23rd. On this day it’s customary to gift loved ones a book or a rose which are symbols of the Legend of St. George. You’ll find tons of book and rose vendors lining the streets and Catalan flags covering balconies and stores. This holiday is a massive celebration of Catalan culture and love, it is often thought of as their Valentine’s Day.
The Legend of St. George
According to Catalan legend, the story of St. George begins in Montblanc where a fearsome dragon terrorized the townspeople. The dragon was a massive beast and the town kept him away by bringing him cattle to eat, until one day there were no more cattle to give. They came up with a plan to protect the town by setting up a lottery and drawing the name of a person to feed to the dragon each day. A few days passed and the name of the princess was drawn. She was leaving the castle to face her fate when a brave knight, St. George, appeared on his white horse to save her. With his sword St. George valiantly slayed the dragon freeing the princess and saving the town! It is said that a beautiful rosebush with the most brilliant red roses anyone had ever seen sprouted from the blood of the slain dragon and that St. George took his sword and cut a rose that he presented to the Princess.
The design of Gaudí’s Casa Batlló was inspired by the Legend of St. George. (Learn more at the Casa Batlló Website)