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Speaker urges ‘not to forget cultural heritage’ on Sant Jordi

Roger Torrent reminded audience of “those who cannot be with us to celebrate,” at public event ahead of the holiday

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20 April 2018 12:57 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

This Sant Jordi should be “festive, cheerful, and smiling,” but without, however, “forgetting our cultural heritage and those who, on Monday, cannot be with us to celebrate,” urged the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Roger Torrent.

At an outdoor public event at the parliament, he delivered a message of defiance: “Neither the institutional and political abnormality, nor the injustice suffered by those deprived of their freedom should see us give up the cheer, smile, and freedom of the Sant Jordi celebrations.”

Torrent was referring to those Catalan leaders both incarcerated and abroad for their role in the country’s bid for independence. Currently, there are 9 individuals from the deposed Catalan government, dissolved parliament, and grassroots organizations in pre-trial prison. Meanwhile, 7 are abroad, all facing extradition orders in Belgium, Scotland, Germany and Switzerland.  The latter includes dismissed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

In the public event, Torrent reminded the audience of the values of Sant Jordi, like “love of coexistence,” which he emphasized should be “defended and protected, now more than ever.” Indeed, Sant Jordi is often thought of as an occasion to appreciate those you care for, in both platonic and romantic relationships.

The equivalent of Saint George, Sant Jordi is also Catalonia’s patron saint. Based on the legend involving a knight, a dragon, and a princess to be saved, a rose is usually given to women. Another common gift is a book, as the holiday also falls on the UNESCO World Book day. In honor of literature, texts from authors Montserrat Abelló, Maria Aurèlia Capmany, Carles Fages de Climent, Maria-Mercè Marçal, Joanot Martorell, Raimon Panikkar and Manuel de Pedrolo were also read at the Parliament event.

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  • The Catalan Parliament speaker Roger Torrent during the event before Sant Jordi on April 20 2018 (by Rafa Garrido)

  • The Catalan Parliament speaker Roger Torrent during the event before Sant Jordi on April 20 2018 (by Rafa Garrido)