Sant Jordi, Catalonia Celebrates.
So, Sant Jordi eh? Well if you are sitting comfortably, I will begin.
Once upon a time there was a nasty dragon who lived in a cave above Barcelona. To keep him happy the locals fed him a virgin everyday. (100% of the daily recommended dose). Unfortunately, the townsfolk were rapidly running out of acceptable women and were on the verge of contemplating some sort of virgin import system, when someone suggested they turn to the King for help.
Being a gracious fellow, and clearly not holding out much hope he would marry off his daughter in the near future, he offered her up for the dragon’s next meal. Overjoyed at the King’s total disregard for his untainted offspring, the locals seasoned her, added a few herbs, wrapped her up in tin-foil and dragged her up the mountain.
A snack from Catalonia
After earlier putting on his oven (gas mark 4) and uncorking a particulary cheeky Rioja, the dragon was just about to pop on his oven gloves to prepare his evening meal, when a brave knight appeared and killed him with his lance. As the shocked and presumably still hungry dragon fell, his blood spilled onto the ground and a rose bush sprung up. The gallant knight then picked a rose from the bush and handed it to the relieved, condiment covered Princess, before heading on his way.
The knight was none other than Sant Jordi. (St George in English money) Who became the Patron Saint of Catalonia.
Sant Jordi, Catalonia buys books and roses
OK so I might not have got the facts entirely right and quite where books get mixed up in all this is a little hazy, but nevertheless on the 23rd of April every year the whole of Catalonia dashes out to buy a rose for the women and a book for the men, to celebrate that heroic act by their Patron Saint.