20 Apr Sant Jordi Guide 2018: how to enjoy the celebration in Barcelona
La diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day) is one of the most popular celebrations of the year in Barcelona. Every April 23rd the streets of the city get crowded with people and stands selling books and roses, on a day that includes concerts, free visits to emblematic buildings, social initiatives, exhibitions of popular culture, literary fairs and much more.
To keep you informed, we offer you a guide of Sant Jordi 2018 with the main events and secrets you should know to enjoy a festivity that combines romanticism and culture at the same time.
How Sant Jordi is celebrated in Barcelona
The festivity is celebrated in honor of Sant Jordi, patron of Catalonia, is about two main themes: culture (represented by the books) and love (symbolized by roses).
In this sense, April 23 is considered by the Catalans as the true Lover’s Day (instead of Valentine’s Day) and also coincides with the International Book Day, which is celebrated this day to commemorate the date on which William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died.
Although tradition says that in Sant Jordi the Boyfriend has to give a rose to his girl and she has to give him a book, nowadays these roles are blurred and it is usual to give books and roses to boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, friends, relatives… and, of course, to oneself.
In addition to the romantic component, La Diada de Sant Jordi is also a day to promote reading, as well as the Catalan tradition and culture.
La Rambla, the heart of Sant Jordi
La Rambla becomes the heart of the celebration. In the middle of a great festive atmosphere, the streets of Barcelona are filled with people searching roses and the latest editorial novelties.
If you walk all the way from Columbus statue to Plaça Catalunya, you will be able to enjoy countless Book stands and beautiful roses of all colors, as well as some of your favorite writers signing books to their readers.
And this is probably one of the great attractions of Sant Jordi: to hunt autographs of both locally and internationally renowned writers that each year sign autographs in the hundreds of bookstores and book stands that are distributed throughout the city.
Open day in public buildings
On the day of Sant Jordi, museums, public institutions and other venues open their doors completely free of charge. Barcelona City Council can be visited from 10:00 to 20:00 hours with a route that begins in Carrer de la Ciutat (Gothic façade) and runs through the noble halls of the building, where you will be received by different historical figures, including Sant Jordi himself and even the princess.
You can also enjoy the Chinese-shadow show “La llegenda de Sant Jordi” in the courtyard of the City Hall, by Taller Escola Sant Camil. There will be shows every 30 minutes, between 11:00 and 19:30.
Right in front, the Palau de la Generalitat will also hold Open Day on the occasion of the festivity.
If you want to immerse yourself in Catalan tradition and culture, you can’t miss the sardana dance show that will take place in the Plaza de Sant Jaume at 19:00.
Other buildings that will open their doors to the public are the Palau Güell (one of the architectural jewels designed by Antonio Gaudí), the Hospital de Sant Pau, the Museum of the History of Catalonia and the Museum of Archaeology, as well as the impressive building of the Biblioteca de Catalunya on Carrer del Hospital (very close to the hotel).
Also, a privileged few will be able to enjoy a nocturnal visit to the Sagrada Familia.
Music in the old factory Estrella Damm
If you want to enjoy live music and a great atmosphere, the old factory Estrella Damm organizes a free musical day that includes concerts, record signings and a market of books, roses and vinyl. From 12 noon to eight in the afternoon, artists such as Quimi Portet, Buhos, Ebri Knight, Mi Capitán, Flamingo Tours and Núria Graham, among many others, will be on stage.
La Nit del Drac
If you’re in Barcelona on Sunday you can’t miss La Nit del Drac, an event that will commemorate figures of the Catalan literature whose anniversary is celebrated this year: Joan Brossa, Manuel de Pedrolo, Montserrat Abelló, Vicent Andrés Estellés, Maria Aurèlia Capmany and Maria Mercè Marçal.
The event will be held in Plaça del Rei from 20:30 onwards and will include a show of music, fire and poetry by the dramaturg Marc Rosich.
Sant Jordi Solidarity Day
La Diada de Sant Jordi has also an important solidarity component. Among many other initiatives it stand out the solidarity roses that will be sold in the courtyard of the City Council (the entire proceeds will be donated to non-profit associations) and “Roses against forgetting” which aims to raise awareness about the problem of loneliness among senior citizens, as well as literacy reading books, blood donation points in libraries in exchange for a rose and a book, and other ideas to raise funds for foundations and NGOs.
Roses and culture at Casa Batlló
As in the last few years, Casa Batlló will celebrate Sant Jordi by covering its emblematic façade with a mantle of roses from 20 to 23 April.
In addition, during these days and until May 20, when you visit the building, you can also enjoy the exhibition “Inject Love”, an exhibition that revolves around love with artworks that stimulate creativity to express feelings and offer ideas to surprise the people you love the most.
In addition to the events that we have detailed for you, Sant Jordi is by definition a popular festival that is lived in the street and each district of Barcelona has its own activities. You can consult them all here.
We will be giving roses to the guests staying at the hotel as well as informing them about the different activities in the city. We hope you enjoy this day as much as we will. Don’t forget to take pictures and tag us using @arclarambla or hashtag #arclarambla.