Like England, Catalunya´s patron saint is Saint George, and although the English are somewhat reticent about celebrating his saint´s day, the people of Barcelona certainly are not!
Sant Jordi is held on the 23rd April and although not an official holiday, there is definitely a festive feeling in the air. Aside from honouring the saint´s day, 23rd April is both the ´día de los enamorados´ (Catalunya´s equivalent of St Valentine´s Day) and furthermore the day in 1616 that both Cervantes and Shakespeare died. Happily linking these two themes together is the tradition that boys should give their girlfriend a rose and girls give their boyfriend a book.
Barcelona is therefore overrun with bookstands on all the main roads in the city centre and the town becomes a riot of red roses as far as the eye can see. Every publishing house and bookshop puts out a stand along Las Ramblas, Rambla de Catalunya or in Plaça Catalunya and books are for sale at a discount all day.
It is worth getting out early ready to elbow your way through the crowds to buy the year´s big seller before all copies are gone! Literary events take place all around town and include 24 hour marathon readings of Don Quixote and promotions of the Catalan language in print.