For World Guide Day 2019, a brand new tackle an outdated strategy to rejoice literature and love


There’s sooner or later of the yr I notably miss Barcelona, my dwelling. It isn’t Christmas or New Yr’s Day. Positively not Easter (even when I am very explicit to a sure sort of candy accessible solely round that point). Not my birthday. Not the annual competition to commemorate the town: La Mercè. Though that one is available in a detailed second. Nothing beats free concert events on the streets, fireworks and human towers, proper? Properly, virtually nothing.

I moved to the States virtually 13 years in the past and I am previous the homesickness you are likely to expertise if you begin dwelling in a brand new or unknown place. However yearly on April 23, World Guide Day, it nonetheless aches a bit to not be on the streets of my hometown. It is a day that promotes studying and publishing that is been celebrated worldwide since 1995 however goes again to the late 1920s in Catalonia. We rejoice it with books and roses.

Sant Jordi's Day in Barcelona

Roses on Sant Jordi’s day in Barcelona final yr.

Xavi Torrent/Getty Photographs

The factor is, there’s so much to rejoice on that date. On the one hand, it is Saint George’s day — la diada de Sant Jordi. He is the patron saint of Catalonia. In line with the legend, Sant Jordi was a knight who saved your typical princess in misery from a harmful and really hungry dragon. The knight killed the dragon and from its blood grew a bush of brilliant crimson roses. Sant Jordi gave essentially the most stunning of the flowers to the princess. And Catalans have been doing the identical with their family members ever since. The giving-red-roses half, that’s. Not the dragon-slaying bit.

So Sant Jordi’s day is like Catalan lovers’ day (el dia dels enamorats). Valentine’s Day however significantly better, in my utterly unbiased opinion. Particularly as a result of we rejoice every kind of affection, not just for the individual you might be in love with but additionally for family and friends members. Though historically it was the ladies who acquired the roses, the entire celebration is now in tune with modern tradition and it is inspired to present flowers to everybody, no matter gender. 

Even if you happen to aren’t a lot into flowers, there are extra methods to say “I like you,””I such as you” or “I like myself” that day. Moreover the rose distributors, the streets are stuffed with bookstalls. You are inspired to purchase a e book or two for your beloved(s). And you’ll even get the latest releases signed since many authors might be discovered hanging across the bookstore stands among the many fundamental streets Rambla Catalunya, La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia.

I by no means get uninterested in books. 

Angela Lang/CNET

The books had been added to the equation within the late 1920s. The sensible thought to have a day devoted to literature, a e book social gathering (festa del llibre), traces to Valencian author and editor Vicent Clavel. April 23 can also be the anniversary of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, which makes the entire thing very becoming.

And in 1995 UNESCO joined the social gathering, declaring April 23 World Guide and Copyright Day. (I do know, that does not sound fairly so interesting.)

After so a few years removed from dwelling, I’ve developed a system to rejoice the day right here. It isn’t the identical, but it surely’s ok. My husband usually will get me a dozen crimson roses. In Barcelona, per custom, I might have gotten one from him and one from my dad. However I am glad we’re not sticking strictly to the norms.

And that day we go to a bookstore and purchase books for each other — and for ourselves. Final yr he bought me Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects and I bought him Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Demise by Black Gap. The earlier yr he selected nonfiction for me (Marie Kondo’s Spark Pleasure and Hope Jahren’s Lab Lady), whereas I selected fiction for him (Kazuo Ishiguro’s By no means Let Me Go).

I are likely to go to a special bookstore one other day throughout Sant Jordi’s week and deal with myself to much more studying materials. (I gave myself Lucia Berlin’s A Handbook For Cleansing Ladies and Elmore Leonard’s Out of Sight these previous years.) I by no means really feel responsible about shopping for books, even once I know I won’t learn all of them. My Goodreads’ Studying Problem has a purpose of 24 books this yr. I at all times have a pile of books on my nightstand patiently ready for me. 

Technically you possibly can rejoice Sant Jordi each day by supporting your native bookstore, but it surely feels good to have a particular social gathering and profit from that day or that week. In the long run, the concept is to spend it with individuals you want, and with literature. The roses are utterly elective however extremely inspired.

Now you already know. This Tuesday, if you happen to see somebody on the road carrying a single crimson rose with an extended stem, likelihood is they seem to be a Catalan expat attempting to make somebody particular completely satisfied.

Sant Jordi's Day in Barcelona

Folks books to purchase on Sant Jordi’s day in Barcelona final yr. 

Xavi Torrent/Getty Photographs

Initially printed April 22. 


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