Sant Jordi 2014: sun shines on Catalan festival of books and roses

April 24, 2014 03:35 PM | Simão Chambel

Perhaps the most famous holiday in Catalonia, Sant Jordi combines culture with romance as books and roses are exchanged. As we all know by now, the legend of Saint George is a celebration of love epitomized by the brave knight who saved a princess from a terrible dragon thus harvesting a beautiful rose from its blood. So how did that become a day for buying and promoting books? Back in 1928, some Catalan booksellers decided to promote the holiday by setting some bookstalls all over the city to celebrate the anniversary of the death of two of the biggest names in literature, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Catalan Book Day was born and it would be declared World Book Day by UNESCO in 1995. The day after the Easter break combined with great weather resulted in a 3% increase in book sales. Swedish author Jonas Jonasson, Spanish authors Almudena Grandes and Pilar Urbano and Catalan writer and athlete Kilian Jornet were the bestsellers for 2014.

‘Carnestoltes’, an old but always eagerly awaited tradition

February 16, 2012 09:18 PM | CNA / Joëlle Philippe

Carnival celebrations in small towns around Girona remain a huge social event and a great occasion for having fun with friends. Throughout this whole week small villages in the province of Girona celebrate the ‘Carnestoltes’, a whole set of celebrations based on the Carnival theme. Despite the economic crisis and many budget cutbacks, the festivity remains a hugely strong tradition and offers a mix of fun and excess before Lent begins.