Eastern and St. Jordi Day - 10 Days of No Stop Fiesta
Jordi is probably one of most common given names in Barcelona and in whole Catalunya. Actually, the name is the Catalan version of George and the reason why so many little kids are named after him is that Sant Jordi is the patron Saint of the community of Catalunya and the name day is celebrated on April 23rd (diada de Sant Jordi).
The medieval legends tell that St. George or let’s call him Jordi saved the princess from a dragon able to poison the air with his breath killing many people, therefore a prince was sent as a sacrifice and St. Jordi went to rescue the princes and killed the ferocious dragon with his sword. The blood gushed out from the dragon wounds and generated a bush of red roses. The area was this took place was in Tarragona not far from Barcelona. Every 23rd of April the Catalonian region celebrate this special day and the men donate a rose to the women while the men receive from them a book. This is why on this day men give roses to women and receive in exchange books. This is a very felt and deep-rooted tradition in town and is considered the best way to celebrate this sort of Valentine’s Day. The whole city is in bloom and you can find hundreds of stands where to buy a good and interesting book and beautiful roses and you might fell in love in Barcelona. But the real reason why women give the books to the men every 23rd of April at the day of St. Jordi is due to the fact that the 23rd of April died William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes, therefore, this day was declared from the Unesco as well the “day of the Book”.
Gaudi will recall this special day in his architecture, in fact, the Casa Batlò who recall the dragon is referring to the dragon of St. Jordi.
The day of St. Jordi the Palace many museums are free of charge and the institutional palace called the “Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya” opens its doors to the public that can discover the splendid architecture, the palace was started in the 1400s and built in about 200 years.
This year 2019, the Easter Holidays end in the 22nd of April and the 23rd starts the St. Jordi’s day, this is one more reason to spend your holiday in Barcelona where you can experience many days of no stop “fiesta”. Even though Catalonia is not the most Catholic area of Spain, the Easter holiday is spectacular and you will have the chance to follow some local traditions, especially if we are talking about food traditions.
During the so-called “Semana Santa” (Holy week) usually you don’t eat meat but still, there are many options at your disposal, mostly fish based.
- Calçots: a traditional dish where onions are the one and only leading actor. They are served with an exquisite sauce called“romesco” made with bread crumbs, garlic, tomatoes, chili peppers, and almonds. No cutlery is used so get ready to have your hands dirty.
- Buñuelos de Cuaresma: called bynuol in the local language they basically are a fried dough ball often served filled with chocolate or cream.
- Esqueixada de Bacalla’: codfish is the king of Catalan cuisine and it’s eaten all year long. But during Easter time you can find it almost everyone. One delicious version is the Esqueixada, a fresh salad with different toppings such as onion, tomatoes, black olives, oil, and vinagre. It’s also served in the “tapa” size as an appetizer.
- Mona de Pascua: a traditional cake/donuts to be eaten at home. In pastries shop, you can find it in any shape and form, a real masterpiece that invites you in and tries it.
- The day of St. Jordy you need to try the Sobrassada is a typical bread with cheese and salami (pork meat) colored with the colors of the Catalonian flag.
Who is in reality St. Jordi in the Christian heritage? St. Jordi is in reality celebrated in many cities and states of the world. St. Jordi really existed and he lived under the Roman empire, he was, in fact, a Roman soldier at the service of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, (some sources established that was the emperor Dacius). Diocletian, due to the increase of the Christian faith, ordered terrible persecution toward the Christians, St. Jordy proud of his faith, proclaimed himself a Christian and trying to convert many pagans to the Christian faith. The emperor ordered that he was punished to death and he was executed by decapitation near Nicomedia's city wall on 23 April 303.
St. Jordy become very popular in the middle age and many legends and traditions were born at that period to commemorate this Saint every 23rd of April. If you want to live a special 23rd of April do plan a trip to Barcelona to celebrate St. Jordy’s day but also the day of the book commemorating the writers William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes. Barcelona is waiting for you to come!