More than 500 activities throughout Catalonia to celebrate Sant Jordi

To celebrate Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia, various cities and towns throughout Catalonia will host a variety of events, including the more traditional vigil of Sant Jordi on the 22nd of April and the blessing of the roses, but also extending to more than 500 events all over the territory. Such events span staged readings, museum open houses, meetings with writers, dances, open air recitals, and poetry readings. Additionally, more linguistically focused events will take place which will focus on the local language and culture, promoted by the linguistic normalisation centres (CNLs), which aim to promote the use of Catalan in its different forms. Meanwhile, Montblanc, a town which is said to be the home of the legend of dragon slayer Sant Jordi, will host the 29th edition of the Medieval Week of the Legend of Sant Jordi festival in conjunction with the day of Sant Jordi itself. 

Hundreds of people walking through books and roses' stalls in Tarragona (by ACN)
Hundreds of people walking through books and roses' stalls in Tarragona (by ACN) / ACN


April 21, 2016 01:54 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- More than 500 activities throughout Catalonia will take place on the week of the 23rd of April to celebrate Sant Jordi’s Day, Catalonia’s patron day and one of the most beloved days in the Catalan calendar. Although Barcelona is to be the epicentre of the celebrations, there are several other activities taking place in various towns and villages such as Lleida, Tarragona, Girona and Montblanc. Some of these events will last all week, and other focus on Catalan culture and language, such as those promoted by the linguistic normalisation centres (CNLs). Moreover, Montblanc, the town said to be the home of the legend of Sant Jordi itself, will celebrate its 29th edition of its Medieval Week of the Legend of Sant Jordi in conjunction with the day of Sant Jordi, with a high attendance level already expected for its approximately seventy events.

The vigil of Sant Jordi

The vigil of Saint Jordi, to be celebrated this year for the 4th time, will take place the 22nd of April as a precursor to the celebrations of the following day. During the vigil, various cultural activities revolving around literature and libraries will be offered for everyone who wishes to participate. It will be celebrated all throughout Catalonia via the 400 public libraries and ‘bibliobuses’, mobile book and library buses.

With the motto ‘Come in and meet us’ the Library of Catalonia will open its doors to visitors, and will offer free guided group tours. In the exhibition hall, the exhibition ‘Ramon Llull: “Ha mester paraules e llibres”’ will be shown, organised by the library as a celebration for Any Llull, a year dedicated to celebrating the anniversary of the death of the famed Mallorcan writer. At Espai Zero, an area dedicated to exhibitions in the library, one will also be able to visit the Shakespeare exhibition, prepared jointly by the Library of Catalonia and the Institute of Medieval Studies of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, which will additionally commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare´s death.

Barcelona, the epicentre of Sant Jordi

The Catalan capital is set to be the epicentre of Sant Jordi’s celebrations, with hundreds of stalls selling roses, bookshops taking their catalogue to the squares and renowned writers signing their novelties and meeting their fans.

Besides this, the official ceremony for Sant Jordi will take place at the Palau de la Generalitat, the Catalan Government’s headquarters, and will consist primarily of a mass and blessing the roses, the latter carried out by social initiative organisations.

However, there are more than 500 activities scheduled throughout the territory, including lectures, book presentations, open houses at various museums, staged readings, music recitals, poetry readings, toasts and writing contests, meetings with writers, reading workshops, etc.

Girona, Lleida and Tarragona also ready

Local Sant Jordi vigils will be held all throughout Catalonia. Girona, a city in the North of Catalonia on the border with France, will be celebrating the patron saint starting the 22nd of April, with events such as child-friendly family readings, Sardana (a traditional Catalan dance) auditions, book signings, dance halls, concerts, and cultural activities. Lleida, an ancient city to the East of Barcelona which is expecting to maintain its flower, book, and baked goods sales as per the previous Sant Jordi celebrations, will also celebrate the holiday by publishing the booklet ‘Dragon Scales. Tales of Sant Jordi’ a collection dedicated to unpublished local writers. Tarragona, a port city south of Barcelona, as well as the capital of the province where the legend of Sant Jordi is said to have taken place, will observe the holiday with poetry readings, visual poetry exhibitions, book presentations, Sardana and Castellers towers and moonlight outdoor events.

Moreover, various other museums and institutions in Catalonia will open their doors to the public. Among the collaborating institutions are the Museum of Catalan History, the Girona Art Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia and the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona.

In addition, since the beginning of April, the linguistic normalisation centres (CNLs) have been organising and participating in various activities, all in Catalonia, related to reading and literature: literary contests, Catalan language classroom activities, floral games - a Medieval activity of historically related poetry contests rewarded with floral prizes, open air dictations, meetings with writers, linguistic gymkhanas, reading workshops, book exchanges, poetry reading, book clubs, guest talks on radio shows, etc.

Montblanc Medieval Week to coincide with Sant Jordi Day

Montblanc, a town in the province of Tarragona in Catalonia, south of Barcelona, is most well known for being the town where the legend of Sant Jordi (Saint George the dragon slayer) took place. According to the legend, the knight Sant Jordi rescued a princess in distress from a ferocious dragon, and gave her a rose that had grown from the slain dragon´s blood. Nowadays, the town celebrates Sant Jordi with its Medieval Week of the Legend of Sant Jordi. This 29th edition of the medieval festival, which will comprise approximately seventy events between the 22nd of April and the 1st of May, will coincide with the day of Sant Jordi, on the 23rd of April. The town is expecting a high attendance, as the ‘Representation of the Legend of Sant Jordi’ performance has already sold more than half of its total capacity, 1,500 people, in advance sales. As new features, the festival will also feature a version of the theatrical representation of the legend made especially for children and a re-enactment of medieval night-time games. The budget for the celebration, which involves the whole village, is set at approximately 150,000 euros.