Sant Jordi’s Day- Why we celebrate it and how?    

Sant Jordi’s Day falls on April 23, which is also international book day. As Sant Jordi, otherwise known as Saint George, is one of the patron saints of Catalonia, it is considered a very important day in our country and holds romantic significance similar to that of Valentine’s Day.

If you are lucky enough to be in Barcelona on Sant Jordi’s Day, make sure not to miss this festivity that brings joy throughout the city. Throughout the streets, especially in the centre, you will find book and rose sellers, which will delight you with all their colour. As Sant Jordi’s Day is still a working day, many locals go and visit the celebrations in the afternoon when they can have a walk around and enjoy the festivities. 

Origin of Sant Jordi 

The story of Sant Jordi is one that is well-known throughout many cultures. In Catalonia the legend goes like this: a dragon was terrorising the local village of Montblanc, eating all the animals and people he was found throughout the town, so the King had to find a solution to the problem. He decided that they had to feed the dragon, and chose one person per day at random to offer as a sacrifice, so the Dragon wouldn’t attack the rest of the town. However, one day the Princess of Montblanc was chosen as a sacrifice. Luckily, just as the dragon was about to eat her, a knight rode in on a white horse to save her. It was Sant Jordi! He nailed his spear in the heart of the dragon and killed it, saving the Princess. From the blood of the dragon, a rose appeared and Sant Jordi gave it to the Princess.

Sant Jordi’s Day is recorded as being celebrated as a rose fair as far back as the 15th century. As the celebration was particularly popular with couples, it is thought that this is where the tradition of giving a rose to a loved one began, as a homage to the rose given by Sant Jordi to the Princess. 

The Sant Jordi’s day traditions associated with books began in the early twentieth century. The Valencian writer, Vicent Clavel, proposed that the Official Chamber of the Book and the Booksellers’ Guild set a day to promote the sale of books. They chose October 7, 1929, to coincide with the Universal Exhibition that took place in Barcelona, ​​and it was so successful that they decided to change the date to a time when the weather encouraged even more people to go out. The chosen day was on April 23, when two important writers died: the Spanish author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, and the English writer William Shakespeare.

How we celebrate Sant Jordi’s Day?

Sant Jordi’s Day is a celebration of culture and love, where traditionally men buy roses for women and women buy books for men. Nowadays, it is becoming more common for men to also buy books for women, as well as giving them roses. As well as being a romantic gesture, roses are also given to friends or from parents, so it’s possible to see women with more than one rose!

Sant Jordi's Day

The centre of Barcelona comes alive with book stands and rivers of people with roses in their hands. The best streets to wonder through are La Rambla, Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, as well as Plaça Catalunya. Throughout these streets there are hundreds of book sellers offering up many different types of books, from children’s books to cook books, the latest novels and much more. It is also quite common to see authors at the stands signing their books, often with long queues forming. If you want to buy a book for your loved one on Sant Jordi’s Day, strolling down these boulevards is the perfect place to do so.

If it’s a rose you are after, you can find stands on almost every corner in the city. These days, as well as the traditional rose, it is also possible to find original creations, such as roses made from silk or other materials. Even if you are not looking to buy anything, there is a fantastic atmosphere in the city. By the way, do not miss the chance to see Casa Batlló decorated in roses!

If you are going to be in Barcelona over Sant Jordi’s Day, make sure not to miss out on the romanticism and book one of our beautiful apartments in the city centre. 

The best shops to find your perfect wedding dress in Barcelona

Pronovias

Barcelona is a city known for its exciting boutique and designer fashion, so what could be a better place to find a beautiful and unique wedding dress? Check out these designers with Barcelona-based shops for a selection of original wedding dresses to see if you can find your dream gown.

No list of wedding dress shops in Barcelona would be complete without Pronovias, perhaps the most famous Spanish wedding dress brand. Pronovias started off its life in 1922 as a store in Barcelona that specialized in silk, lace and other high-quality fabrics, and now has stores worldwide. The shop owes its initial fame to designer Alberti Palatchi Ribera, who became renowned for revolutionising the bridal-wear industry with his ready-to-wear gowns. Stylish and classy, Pronovias has something for everyone, with their extensive collections spanning multitudes of themes and designs.

Location: Rambla de Catalunya, 129

Rosa Clará

Since 1995, founded by Rosa Clará herself, Rosa Clará bridal house has been making its beautiful and dreamy wedding gowns. Their goal has always been to create pieces using the best quality fabrics as well as prioritizing style and design. Having become one of Barcelona’s most famous wedding dress designers, their dresses have been worn by worldwide celebrities, including Eva Longoria and Sofía Vergara. Not only this, but Rosa Clará has also collaborated with famous designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix to create unique and exciting wedding collections.

Location: Diagonal, 409

Aire

If you’re looking for a classic wedding dress, Aire might be the shop for you. With collections that range from the simple to the stunning, all Aire gowns have an air of elegance about them with their gorgeous silhouettes and perfectly placed details and embroidery. If you’re thinking of having a beach wedding, Aire has you covered as they even have a special Beach Bridal collection!

Location: Via Augusta, 32

Yolan Cris

Started in Barcelona, this boutique was created by sisters, Yolanda and Cristina, who have been inspired by their youth when their mum owned a bridal boutique of her own. Since its inception in 2005, Yolan Cris has gone on to design gowns for celebrities including Christina Aguilera, Shakira and Kim Kardashian’s bridal party. The two sisters combine their extensive knowledge of the industry and traditional production methods with high fashion and innovative designs. Currently featuring collections like ‘Boho Chic’ which incorporate an element of 60’s nostalgia into the design, these dresses are not for traditionalists but for those who want a haute couture edge. 

Location: Diagonal 508, Principal 1ª

Otaduy

Another designer to look out for, Carolina Otaduy was inspired to start her wedding dress company when living in New York. Formerly an indie music producer, she takes that creativity into her designs inspired by art, music and film, focussing on the concept of dresses designed for women who want to be themselves on their wedding day. If you’re looking for something unique and handmade, this could be the place where you find the wedding dress that you feel truly encapsulates your personality.

Location: Torrent de l’Olla, 45

Cortana

One of the more popular bridal boutiques in Barcelona, Cortana is headed up by designer Rosa Esteva. Born in Majorca, her designs have a decidedly Mediterranean influence about them, taking inspiration from art and contemporary dance. It’s easy to find those themes in the flattering carefree forms her dresses take, with an elegant, chic and boho feel. You can be assured of the quality of the bridal gowns, as they are all flawlessly crafted in small ateliers throughout Barcelona.

Location: Provença, 290

L’Arca

If you’re a lover of all things vintage and looking for something a little more niche, L’Arca might just be the wedding dress shop for you. L’Arca both carefully curates gowns, as well as well as bridal accessories from all periods of time, but also make dresses to measure – always with a vintage inspiration – and customisable from their current collections. With the inspired idea of bringing the past into the present, L’Arca holds over 40 years of expertise in period designing, having worked with Hollywood directors and renowned designers alike. 

Location: Banys Nous, 20

So now you have your options for just some of the beautiful and unique dresses you can find amongst Barcelona’s streets, why not check them out to see if your dream gown is waiting there for you.