The city is gearing up to celebrate Sant Jordi, one of the best-loved festive occasions of the year. On Sunday, books and roses take centre stage and once again flood the city streets. This year there will be 4,844 stalls in total, 3,921 of them selling roses and 923 selling books. The districts of L’Eixample and Ciutat Vella will have the greatest number of stalls.
Sant Jordi is a deep-rooted tradition and is keenly played out in the streets of the city as they overflow with roses, books and people, willfully losing themselves in the city as they look for a flower or a book to give as a sign of love, friendship or appreciation. As ever, there will be a broad array of cultural, public and social activities, both in the city centre and the neighbourhoods, bringing Sant Jordi to everyone.
Besides the open day at the City Hall (from 10 am to 8 pm) and the sale of solidarity roses in the entrance hall to the building, the city will be offering the chance to enjoy a series of activities organised by district offices, by organisations and collectives, as well as by schools, community services and commerce. Sant Jordi is, essentially, a people’s celebration.
The greatest number of authorised stalls will be in the districts of Ciutat Vella and L’Eixample. In the latter, there will be 1,897 stalls, 1,420 of them selling roses and 477 selling books. In Ciutat Vella 755 stalls have been authorised for the occasion: 255 selling books and 500 selling roses. A new feature this year is the new identification system used by authorised stalls.
In Ciutat Vella, the Raval neighbourhood will be celebrating a different Sant Jordi, with local entities, collectives, schools, community services and commerce all involved. The neighbourhood will be highlighting the cultural aspects shared between all communities in El Raval, such as literature or the oral tradition, and is organising a celebration to speak up for diversity, multiculturalism and coexistence. This year the celebration coincides with the 15th anniversary of the Fundació Tot Raval.
The district of L’Eixample continues to back celebrations for Sant Jordi where the protagonists are children and young people, creativity and poetry, music from other countries and cultural diversity. The epicentre for festivities will be Passeig Sant Joan, where a multicultural literary festival will be held, with workshops for children and the reading of texts in Catalan, Arabic, Kurdish and Amazigh. Barcelona’s other districts are also organising activities and street festivities for local residents to mark Sant Jordi.
Two million roses expected to be sold
Some six million roses are expected to be sold around Catalonia on Sant Jordi’s day, a figure which has remained unchanged for the last five years. The fact that 23 April falls on a Sunday means the sector is being conservative about sales expectations. Of the total number of roses expected to be sold in Catalonia, a third will come from Mercabarna-flor, according to the wholesaler’s guild.
Some 90% of roses are imported, while 4% are from Catalonia (mostly from the Maresme area) and 6% come from Eastern Spain and the regions of Almeria and Soria. A new feature this year will see plastic wrappings replaced by recyclable, eco-friendly and modern wraps.