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The legend of Sant Jordi

Once upon a time, a dragon capable of poisoning the air terrorised the area around the town of Montblanc, located in Tarragona. It devoured the animals and threatened the integrity of the inhabitants, so the citizens decided to calm it down by offering it a neighbour a day. After several days, bad luck befell the king's daughter. When she left her home ready to be swallowed by the beast, a knight in shining armour on a white horse appeared to rescue her and pierced the dragon with his sword, freeing the whole village. From the dragon's blood sprang a rose bush with the reddest roses ever seen. The noble nobleman, who was called Sant Jordi, plucked a rose, and offered it to the princess.

So, coinciding with Sant Jordi's Day, every 23 April in Catalonia it is customary for men to give a rose to their beloved, although anyone can make this offering. Moreover, every 23 April is World Book Day, promoted by UNESCO since 1995. Therefore books are also often given as gifts to celebrate one of the most important traditions of Catalan culture.

As well as being celebrated in Catalonia and Andorra, the legend of Sant Jordi is also celebrated in other European countries, such as England, Greece, and Portugal. In the town of Montblanc, the Medieval Week is organised over two weekends. The town revives its past in the streets with flags, stately banners and a host of events that transport the public back to the Middle Ages: they re-enact the legend of Sant Jordi, organise a medieval dinner, a market, and other re-enactments.


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