Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Rose for love

This coming Tuesday, 23rd April, is St George's Day. In the UK the Welsh celebrate St David's Day, the Scots celebrate St Andrew's Day and, well, everyone celebrates St Patrick's Day along with the Irish, but strangely enough the English (I'm mainly English with a bit of Scottish, Welsh, Irish and German blood in the mix!) don't really celebrate St George's Day.It apparently fell out of fashion when England and Scotland united, but there are attempts to get the day celebrated more.



George needn't worry though - there other places that claim him as patron saint that celebrate in far better style, most noticable the beautiful city of Barcelona! Barcelona is the capital city of Catalona, a region of Spain that once was a separate kingdom, and I was lucky enough to go there last weekend with my other half for a wonderful birthday treat. I love Barcelona! So full of colour and so vibrant, and never more so on
La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George's Day). Also known as El dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book) the Catalonians holiday on 23 April in a similar way to St Valentine's Day. Men give women roses and women gave men a book to celebrate the occasion—"a rose for love and a book forever." Red roses have been a symbol of St George since medieval times, but the giving of books is a more recent tradition originating in 1923, when a bookseller started to promote the holiday as a way to commemorate deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on 23 April 1616.
 

In Barcelona's most visited street, La Rambla, thousands of stands of roses and makeshift bookstalls are set up for the occasion. By the end of the day, some four million roses and 800,000 books will have been purchased. Most women will carry a rose in hand, and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place on this occasion. The city is always full of music and street performers but even more so on this day.


I thought I'd join in the celebrations by showing off some of our roses, both finished pieces and beads and components for your own creations. Enjoy St George's Day!

Barcelona is also home to lots of bead shops! I have a post on my blog that I wrote after my second visit in 2008 (I told you that I love Barcelona!) that you can see here, and I'm in the process of writing another updated one - it'll will be ready soon!

9 comments :

  1. This was fascinating to read. I love the idea of giving the men books. I know that's a gift that my guy always appreciates. Your post makes me want to visit Barcelona now! Maybe I will sometime.

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    1. It's a lovely idea, isn't it? And you just have to visit Barcelona Linda! If I could choose anywhere in the world to live it would either be there or the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand!

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  2. This blog reminded me of the trip my husband and I took to Great Britain to celebrate our anniversary. We were in London on St.,George's Day. It looked like a pretty big deal to me. I wasn't familiar with it then. I am happy you helped me expand my knowledge.

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    1. It's getting bigger, but slowly!

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  3. I think we don't really celebrate St. George's Day as we've had pride in being English (rather than or as well as British) knocked out of us. It's fine to say you're Scottish, or Welsh, but if you're English, you ahve to say you're British or you're being "imperialistic" or other such nonsense I've come across! It is very hard to be patriotic in a country where our national flag was banned by local councils though...

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    1. Unfortunately I think you're right Wendy! There's a St George's Day parade planned for Southampton where I live though, so you never know what may happen in the future!

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  4. I always hope to learn something new every day. I had no idea that there was such a thing as St. George's Day. Thanks for the knowledge. I love the components you chose to represent the day. Beautiful!

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  5. The closest town on the mainland is St George and they have St George Days complete with 'dragon's during the summer... obviouls it's not timed to the name day at all! I We noticed when we were in Barcelona that they used any excused for a holiday we were there for about 20 days and there were two holidays during that period.. The flowers on la Rambla were gorgeous I don't remember roses but then they are everywhere so I would have been drooling over the more exotic flowers! & we didn't see a single bead shop while we were in Spain, I'm sure my husband is still clicking his heels in glee over that momentous event!

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