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Spanish intervention halts Sant Jordi institutional events

Following Article 155, the traditional mass and blessing of roses will not be held; only government open doors and performances maintained


20 April 2018 04:15 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Sant Jordi, a time-old tradition in Catalonia, will be different this 2018. Traditionally, the day set to celebrate the country’s patron saint is observed through a mass in a chapel bearing the same name, along with a blessing of the roses ceremony at the Catalan Government headquarters.

This year, however, these two events – and more – will not be held. They are traditionally presided over by the Catalan executive head, and following a declaration of independence, the Spanish government effectively seized Catalonia’s self-rule, deposing its government – including the president, Carles Puigdemont. After a round of snap elections, there have been several attempts to hold swearing-in debates for new candidates, each one blocked by the Spanish judiciary. 

No mass, no blessing of the roses

Indeed, the leader of Catalonia is usually charged with organizing the mass, presided over by the Archbishop of Barcelona, but held in the private Sant Jordi chapel in the Catalan government headquarters. Along with the blessing of the roses, other traditional activities have been cancelled, including the ‘Hereu I la Pubilla’ contest for young people.

Puigdemont roses

Each year, there is also an institutional message given by the Catalan president at the government podium. It might be that Carles Puigdemont makes a speech from abroad, something which he did for New Year’s from Belgium – this time, it would be from Berlin, where he is awaiting a decision on an extradition to Spain.

Yellow roses

The Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, will not give an institutional speech on that day either. He will instead only participate in the initiative ‘Roses against oblivion’ put on by platform Friends of Senior Citizens. He will also leave a yellow rose at the Great Rose Mural, organized by grassroots association Òmnium Cultural in solidarity with those Catalan officials (including various members of the deposed cabinet) in pre-trial prison.

Indeed, there is a more visual representation of this year’s changes. More sold than previous years is a yellow rose, a symbol for those detained or abroad. Florist wholesalers have bought some 5% more of these color roses, although they predict it still being second favorite to the classic red flower.

The events that will still take place for Sant Jordi will be the Catalan government open doors hours from 11:00am to 7:00pm, as well as choral performances (one held both at noon and 6:00pm, and another at 8:30pm), as well as the traditional Catalan ‘sardana’ dance in Plaça Sant Jaume. 


  • Parliament speaker Roger Torrent speaks during the event ahead of Sant Jordi on April 20 2018 (by Rafa Garrido)

  • Parliament speaker Roger Torrent speaks during the event ahead of Sant Jordi on April 20 2018 (by Rafa Garrido)