7 million roses for Sant Jordi

Flower sales expected to increase some 25% compared to last year, due to holiday being during the week

Roses at the Flower and Ornamental Plant Market of Catalonia on April 16 2018 (by Norma Vidal)
Roses at the Flower and Ornamental Plant Market of Catalonia on April 16 2018 (by Norma Vidal) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 16, 2018 01:18 PM

Between 6.5 and 7 million roses will be bought for gifts on Sant Jordi, according to the Flower and Ornamental Plant Market of Catalonia wholesaler. This amount shows an increase of 25% compared to 2017, when the holiday fell on a Sunday, according to wholesalers. This year, instead, it falls on a Monday, and florists believe that as well as seeing a lot of street traffic, they might even see businesses buying roses for their employees.

Books and roses

Sant Jordi, April 23, a day that celebrates both the patron saint of Catalonia, and happens to fall on the UNESCO world book day. As well as being an opportunity to appreciate literature – with books one of the traditional gifts given on this day – it also celebrates the story of Sant Jordi, or Saint George. As the story goes, a knight in shining armor saved a princess by slaying a dragon; from its blood sprouted a single rose, which the hero then to gifts the princess. Combining all these elements, and by giving books or roses, Sant Jordi in Catalonia is a chance to celebrate platonic and romantic love.

As with every year, florists and customers like to get creative – a red rose is classic, but on Sant Jordi you can find everything from rainbow flowers, to striped yellow and red – the color of the Catalan flag, the ‘senyera.’ This year, a new color rose takes the stage: yellow, in solidarity with Catalan officials in prison or abroad. For 2018, while wholesalers acquired some 5% more yellow roses “just in case,” they’re convinced that the star of the show will still be the timeless color red, “because red is the symbol of love and passion,” said wholesalers at the Flower and Ornamental Plant Market of Catalonia, Josep Ruiz.  They estimate that the total of yellow roses sold will be around 300,000.

Monday, the best day

Monday is one of the best days for Sant Jordi to fall on, added Ruiz. “This year, perspectives are very good,” he proclaimed. In total, wholesalers foresee the aforementioned market and adjacent businesses will sell 3.5 million roses, wholesaler market Mercabarna will sell 2 million, and businesses outside of markets will contribute 1.5 or 2 million more.

For rose-connoisseurs, the majority of roses sold this year will be of the ‘Freedom’ variety, originating from Ecuador and Colombia, representing 60% of total sales. These are flowers known for their large buds, long stalks, and higher durability. Another popular rose variety this year is from Holland, and is called ‘Red Naomi.’ Catalan-grown roses will represent around 10% of flowers sold, say wholesalers.