MY POINT OF VIEW 14 (by Tatiana Sisquella)
Roses, books, books, roses, people, roses, books, people, books, people, roses, books, books, more roses and more people…
Because today no other words are needed to talk about this Catalan tradition: Sant Jordi's Day. If you want to know why we celebrate it look it up in Google, because I want to talk to you, describe, explain what happens on our streets for a few hours on April 23rd.
Very early in the morning, when it's still so dark we should really call it night, the florists who sell flowers wholesale at the 'Mercat Central' flower market, have everything ready to receive the last rose buyers. We say last, because the professionals have done all their work days before. This day, and there are a lot of people (particularly young people who want to make some quick money) who spend the day selling red roses together with an ear of corn and a ribbon with the 'Senyera' (the flag of Catalonia). To enter the market you need a special permit, but I can tell you from my own experience that at around 7 in the morning they let everyone in… and the sight is really worth seeing!
Once the flowers have been sold, it is a joy to walk around any of the streets, let yourselves be carried away by the smell of roses and stop at a bar to have breakfast while you watch people putting up the stalls of books and roses that hours later will be immersed in the crowds.
Every year, on April 23rd, all the streets, squares, alleyways and roads around the city will be bursting with people looking for a book for him and a rose for her. On this day there is no rose more beautiful than another or book better than another: there is your book and the rose that you give or the rose you receive and the book you give.
On this day, it is as traditional to go out for a stroll at any time in the day as it is to give someone a rose or a book. And of course, as if it could not be any other way, the 'Rambla de les flors' becomes once more the central point of this stroll.
If you go you will find hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people going up and down the Ramblas like a perfumed flood. Go there. Catch the magic of Sant Jordi and don't think about being squashed or that somebody will try and pinch your purse or wallet, because probably neither of these things are far from the truth, but they could happen on any day and not necessarily on Sant Jordi.
This day more than 4 million roses are sold, as are 20% of the total number of books that readers will find in the bookshops the whole year round. The flowers can be found in all shapes and colours, but if you want to be faithful to our dearest tradition, buy a red rose together with an ear of corn. As regards the books, any title is valid, but I have to say that getting it signed by one of the many authors to be found on this day distributed among the improvised bookshops on the street is starting to form part of the day’s ceremony.
Sant Jordi day is magic, special, unique. It is such a part of us that we would like to share it with everybody…I will be walking around the streets of Barcelona all day, so if you see me, say hello, I'll be carrying a red rose…
Question: Why Barcelona?
Answer: BECAUSE THE CITY SMELLS OF ROSES.