Tuesday 23 April 2019

Catalonia, the mother of dragons

The streets are bathed with the smell of roses and books. The couples walk happily, she with a rose in her hand and he with a book just received. They are enjoying the most romantic tradition of the year, the Sant Jordi dyad. With a strong popular character, mixing romanticism and culture, this festival combines the commemoration of the day of lovers and the day of the book. This is April 23 throughout Catalonia.

Sant Jordi, patron saint of lovers in Catalan lands, has joined the celebration of World Book Day, promoted since 1995 by UNESCO. Its central elements are love and culture, represented respectively by the book and by the rose. The stalls selling books and roses are crowded in the main points of the cities, where people try to approach to fulfill the tradition.

April 23, unfortunately, it is characterized by deaths of emblematic characters, who are still remembered today. Beginning with the gentleman Jordi, the saint who has refused to persecute Christians and who soon has become an urban legend, and ending with famous writers like Miguel de Cervantes and Shakespeare, who also have seen his life end on this fateful day in April.
Possibly due to the nefarious theme that surrounds this day, the most outstanding stories in the book market, with a remarkable sales success, are the books about murders, police investigations and crimes. People are still attracted to police plots and thrillers.

The legend of Sant Jordi, known to all Catalans, is in itself a story of suspense, where a dragon frightened the inhabitants of a small Catalan city. To calm this dragon full of hunger, the population has decided to give him one person a day chosen by lot. One day, bad luck came to the princess. However, Sant Jordi, a beautiful gentleman, tried to rescue her. With his sword pierced the dragon and from the blood was born a rosebush of red roses. Sant Jordi, plucked one of the roses and gave it to the princess.

This legendary fable has served as inspiration for one of the most impressive works of Gaudí, visited annually by thousands of tourists in Barcelona, the Casa Batlló. The facade and some of the interior spaces portray this story through images. On the roof it is possible to visualize the scaly back of the dragon crossed by the sword of Sant Jordi. On the top floor is the balcony of the princess, represented by a flower. Finally, the lower balconies and columns have skulls and bone shapes embodying all the dragon's victims.

As it is possible to verify, April 23 represents a day of great importance for the Catalan people, who in addition to celebrating love and culture, keep alive the tradition of Sant Jordi, its patron.

However, if you are in a relationship and it is not all rosy, do not forget that there are professionals who can help you find the origin of the truth. On this day we should all receive a book or a rose, without having any doubt that these emotional details are received by another person from the love of our life, our sentimental partner, our Sant Jordi or our princess fairy tale.

Sindia Alves and A. Oliver
Anthropologist and Detective
of Oliver Detectives


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