What is Sant Jordi and why is it celebrated on the same day as World Book Day?

Sant Jordi, or St. George, is the patron saint of Catalonia, and the Diada de Sant Jordi on April 23rd, is a festive occasion filled with tradition, culture, and romance which coincides with World Book Day. Do you want to know its history? Hola Barcelona takes you there!

What is Sant Jordi and why is it celebrated on the same day as World Book Day?

April 23rd (Sant Jordi) is a notable date on the Catalan calendar. Interestingly, this date also coincides with World Book Day. We will explore the origins of both traditions, delve in with Hola Barcelona!

Sant Jordi: a millennial legend

The celebration of Sant Jordi has its roots in an ancient legend that has endured through the centuries. According to this story, a fierce dragon terrorized a Catalan village, causing panic and destruction. To put an end to its threat, the village decided to offer it human victims, chosen by lottery. One day, the luck fell upon the village's princess.

Just before the dragon could devour the princess, Sant Jordi appeared, bravely and skillfully fighting the beast. After an intense battle, Sant Jordi managed to kill the dragon, thus saving the princess's life and freeing the village from its terror. According to the legend, after killing the dragon, Sant Jordi thrust his sword into the ground, and from it sprouted a red rose.  In this way, Sant Jordi became the great hero of the village, symbolizing courage and redemption.

World Book Day: a literary celebration

On the other hand, World Book Day originates from a decision made by UNESCO in 1995. This celebration aims to promote reading, book publishing, and the protection of intellectual property. April 23rd was chosen because it coincides with the death date of great writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and Garcilaso de la Vega, among others.

The coincidence of Sant Jordi with World Book Day has created a unique festival in Catalonia, where tradition and culture go hand in hand. On this day, roses and books become the protagonists, filling squares and streets with vibrant colors. Couples, families, and friends exchange roses and books as symbols of love and friendship.

Celebrate Sant Jordi with adventure and culture

On the occasion of Sant Jordi, from April 20th to 23rd, children under 12 have the opportunity to travel on the Montjuïc Cable Car for free. Families wishing to take advantage of this offer can do so, with a maximum of four children per adult, by purchasing their tickets directly at the ticket offices. Additionally, to add a literary touch to this experience, Montjuïc Cable Car, Barcelona Bus Turístic, and Catalunya Bus Turístic customers will be given bookmarks, adding even more magic to this special celebration.


Couples, families, and friends exchange roses and books as symbols of love and friendship / Photo: Dkata via Pixabay
Sant Jordi also coincides with World Book Day / Photo: Tom Hermans via Unsplash

Sant Jordi is a unique celebration that combines culture and tradition, with roses and books as protagonists. Take advantage of this special occasion to enjoy the city and share magical moments amid the festive atmosphere, Hola Barcelona takes you there!