Roses, Books and Sant Jordi

Every morning on April 23rd, the streets of Barcelona are lined with colourful roses, the vendors walk around shouting, “Roses, roses, 3 euros!” and everyone is bustling around getting ready for the day. Book stands are being set up along the streets and ladies walk around with the bright roses in their hand. By the afternoon, thousands of people stroll through the city, stopping at the stands on every important street, exchanging roses and books. It’s the Sant Jordi celebration and there’s marvelous excitement in the air. 

sant jordi barcelona ramblas

Sant Jordi: The history


JobisJob is based in Barcelona, Catalonia, and because today is a very important day in Catalan SantJorditradition, we thought we’d give you all a little peek inside this wonderful custom. A story told from the times of the crusades, legend has it that Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia, was a courageous knight who defeated a dragon and rescued a princess – upon which a bed of roses sprung from the ground. Since then, the act of exchanging roses and books has been a way to commemorate Sant Jordi and his bravery.

“A rose for love and a book forever.” The exchange of roses has dated back to medieval times and only in the early 1920’s was the exchange of books introduced (as booksellers also began to observe the deaths of great writers like Shakespeare, who died on the 23rd of April, and Cervantes, who died on the 22nd). The colour of the rose also has an importance; red, of course symbolising passion and love while the blue rose symbolises trust. And if you’re looking to give a rose to a special lady in your life, try a purple rose; symbolising nobility, femininity and seduction. You can’t go wrong there. The day is full of activities; from the Catalan dance, the sardana, being performed in plazas throughout the day as well as readings by authors in cafes and bookshops.

Enjoy the afternoon, get out and read!

reading sant jordi
So even if you’re not in Catalonia today, pick up a book and enjoy the afternoon lost in a story. Here are 3 of our favourite career books:

  • Rising Stars: Developing Millennial Women as Leaders by Dr. Elisabeth Kelan
  • Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution by Lisa Bodell
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton

And for the loved ones in your life, why not brighten their day and show your love with a bunch of roses. Happy Sant Jordi to all!

Jeannine for JobisJob

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