Bon Sant Jordi i Happy Saint George’s Day!

Barcelona, Books and reading, Traditions

Saint George is patron saint of England, Catalonia, Portugal, Ethiopia, and probably a few others besides. And today is Saint George’s Day. We tend not to celebrate him much here in England, perhaps partly because the flag of Saint George has largely been appropriated by the EDL and similar extremist political groups, and drunken football fans.

That’s not the case in Catalonia though. No! It’s a national holiday (Catalonia clings fiercely to its independence). Men will give a single red rose to the women they love – not just sweethearts and wives, but their sister, their aunt or their friend and colleague at work. Women will respond by offering a book. That’s because in 1995, UNESCO declared 23rd April as a world-wide day to celebrate books and reading, choosing this day because it’s the one on which both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died in 1616. England has to be different, and celebrate the day in March.

Here’s a short video catching something of the party atmosphere in Barcelona, in happier times before That Pandemic. I’ll bet it’s a bit quieter this year.

And why offer a red rose? Well, that’s all down to the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. Here’s an explanation in Spanish. You don’t speak Spanish? Don’t worry. I think you’ll understand almost every word.

Featured image courtesy of BCN Apartment Rentals. No copyright infringement is intended.

34 thoughts on “Bon Sant Jordi i Happy Saint George’s Day!

  1. Fabulous video, Margaret. He was using a technique called TPR, which we used in schools to teach non-English students English. As a teacher, I was not nearly the communicator he was, though. I do speak Spanish, but es malo y feo. It’s fun to practice with videos like this one, though! Thanks for sharing. Happy St. George Day to you. I’m not sure what St. George had to do with all of that, though unless he was the dragon-slaying caballero. 🙂

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      1. Sorry, education jargon. However, the video was a perfect example of how students can access content through pictures. I remember drawing pictures on the chalkboard. I came home pretty dusty every day. The other thing he did that was very good was to use a lot of what we call cognates – they are the same basic word in English and the homelanguage – in this case Spanish and the home language. dragon was the most obvious I can think of now, but there were several. He also added gestures to round out the pictures. So now you know how to teach someone a second language, no matter what the language. 🙂 One of my specialties.

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  2. It’s the dragon really isn’t it? If George, of vague origins in Cappadocia, had only defeated a lion it would be meh. Trust Henry VIII to upgrade St George from saint of royal interest to saint representing England. We are in great company with Catalonia and others as smaller realms choosing a dragonslayer. How come we missed out on the red roses?

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