21 Apr What to do in Barcelona for Sant Jordi
We present you a guide with the main activities that you can enjoy the day of Sant Jordi in Barcelona
La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day) is one of the most special events of the year in Barcelona. Roses, books and rivers of people flood every corner of the city, especially in La Rambla (where Hotel Arc is located), in a day that includes a wide range of activities for every taste: concerts, cultural events, open house day, initiatives of solidarity, popular culture events, talks and literary fairs… So you can make the most of this cultural and romantic day, we present you a guide on what to do in Barcelona for Sant Jordi.
This is how Barcelona celebrates Sant Jordi
The festivity is celebrated in honor of Sant Jordi, patron of Catalonia, and revolves around two main themes: culture (represented by the books) and love (symbolized by roses).
In this regard, April 23 is considered by the Catalans as the true day of lovers (instead of Valentine’s Day) and also coincides with the International Book Day, which is celebrated this day to commemorate the nearly simultaneous deaths of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.
Although tradition says that in Sant Jordi the Boyfriend has to give a rose to his girl and she a book to him, nowadays those 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.
Enjoy Sant Jordi on La Rambla
La Rambla becomes a hot spot of the celebration. In the midst of a great festive atmosphere, rivers of people flow through the most famous street in Barcelona searching roses and the latest publications.
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 house day
On the day of Sant Jordi, museums, institutions and other spaces open their doors and can be visited for free. Like every year, the Barcelona City Council can be visited from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a tour that begins in the entrance on Carrer Ciutat (Gothic facade) and runs through the noble halls of the building, where you will be received by historical figures including Sant Jordi himself and even the princess. Just in front, Palau de la Generalitat (headquarters of the Catalan government) will also celebrate open day for the occasion.
If you want to take in the atmosphere of the Catalan tradition and culture you cannot miss the sardana (a type of circle dance typical of the Catalan culture) that will take place in the Plaza de Sant Jaume at 11:30 p.m.
Other buildings that will open their doors to the public are the Palau Güell (one of the architectural gems created by Antonio Gaudí) and the spectacular Palau de la Música where you will be able to enjoy a concert of choral music by about 15 minutes approximately.
There are also some museums joining the initiative such as the Museum of History of Catalonia and the Museum of Archeology, as well as the impressive building of the Library of Catalunya in carrer Hospital (very close to the hotel).
Also, a privileged few (after winning the tickets in individual raffles) can enjoy an overnight visit to the Sagrada Familia and a route around the Gaudi House-Museum.
Music in the old factory Damm
If you want to enjoy live music and a great atmosphere, the old factory 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 Buhos, Itaca Band, Doctor Prats, Coriolà y Blaumut, among many others, will fill the different stages.
La Nit del Drac
If you are in Barcelona on Saturday you can’t miss the Nit del Drac (the night of the Dragon), an event which pay tribute to the writers celebrating an ephemeris in 2017: Josep Palau i Fabre, J. V. Foix, Prudenci y Aurora Bertrana, Màrius Torres, Carles Soldevila and Joan Fuster.ç
The event is held outdoors in the Born market (21:00 hours) and will feature outstanding artists and personalities from the world of culture.
Music and poetry at the Hospital de Sant Pau
The beautiful gardens of Hospital de Sant Pau wilol be the perfect scenario for De poetes, cançonetes” (of poets and songs), a show that will merge music and poetry by great Catalan poets such as Vicent Andrés Estellés, Enric Casasses, Miquel Martí i Pol, Pere Quart and Joana Raspall, among others (the show will start at 12 noon).
In addition, the imposing Hospital, one of the largest modernist venues in Europe, will open its doors to the public between 10:00 and 14:30 hours.
Solidarity in Sant Jordi
La Diada de Sant Jordi has also an important solidarity component. Among many 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 for the Dragon of the Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló will celebrate Sant Jordi with an initiative that combines art and solidarity. The façade will be covered in roses, and a shower of petals will flood the courtyard of the building designed by Gaudí, as a reference to the dragon’s blood after being speared by Sant Jordi (discover here the legend of Sant Jordi and the Dragon).
In addition, a blood donation point will be located outside the building to join the “Drac&Roses” campaign.
In addition to these events, Sant Jordi is by definition a popular festival that is held in the street and each neighborhood of Barcelona has its own activities. You can find more information here.
Hotel Arc La Rambla & Sant Jordi
Hotel Arc La Rambla cannot pass up this opportunity and as every year we have decided to make our contribution so our guests can also enjoy La Diada. At the reception of the hotel we will offer a rose and a solidarity bookmark to our guests. In addition, you will find a letter in your room with information about Sant Jordi and some surprise …