A Barcelona food blog
It’s a rather strange situation when moving to another country means you learn more about your own country’s patron saint than you did when you lived there. That’s how I find myself when the festival of Sant Jordi comes round. Firstly most citizens of England would struggle to tell you what date St George’s Day falls on and secondly, they wouldn’t be able to tell you of a single tradition that exists to commemorate the day. I certainly couldn’t before I came here.
St George, or Sant Jordi as I’ll name him from here on in, is the patron saint of Catalonia (as well as many other countries and cities as I’ve now learnt) and our familiar George cross sits next to the Catalan flag in the Barcelona masthead. Thankfully there is no hint at any racist connotation regarding the flag or the national day, here the celebration leads more towards love and friendship with the exchanging of roses and books. Stalls pop up around the city selling new and second-hand libros and predominantly red roses although other colours are creeping into popularity.Each rose is presented with a hint of Catalonia and for reasons unknown to me, an ear of wheat.Times have changed from the original tradition and although it’s still customary for men to present women with a rose it’s also now the norm that both sexes receive a book. This tradition stems from the fact that the 23rd April was also the date of the deaths of literary mights Cervantes and Shakespeare. As this year’s festival has fallen on a Saturday rather than a school day there’s been no roses for me, but I have managed to replenish my book supply as some stalls did have titles in English. Whilst we perused the book selection a group where dancing in front of the newly renovated, and slightly vulgar looking El Molino theatre on Paral.lel.And finally, of course this wouldn’t be a true Catalan festival without something to pass the lips to mark the occasion. This day is when people eat pa de Sant Jordi, layers of sobrassada flavoured bread provide the red stripes of the Catalan flag contrasted against the yellow tinged dough. Sold by weight it can be relatively expensive due to the sobrassada and no doubt a fiesta price tag.