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La Diada de Sant Jordi

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Patriche, our inside man for all things Catalan, fills us in on the legend behind one of  most special days on the Catalonia calendar

By Patriche

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 a day (100% of the daily recommended dose). This was all well and good for a while but the townsfolk were rapidly running out of acceptable women.

The town’s Elders were on the verge of contemplating some sort of virgin import system, when a bright spark suggested they turn to their King for help.

His Royal Highness, being a gracious fellow, and clearly not holding out much hope he would marry off his daughter in the near future, 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.

“”Advance our standards, set upon our foes;
Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!”

~ William Shakespeare”

The dragon was just settling down to enjoy this especially tasty snack with a cheeky Rioja, when a brave knight appeared at the cave entrance and promptly 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, if slightly basted, Princess, before heading on his way.

The knight, as it turned out, was none other than Sant Jordi. (St George in English money) Who later became the Patron Saint of Catalonia.

OK, so I might not have got the facts 100% right and quite where books get mixed up in all this is not entirely clear, but nevertheless to celebrate this heroic act on the 23rd of April every year, all over Catalonia, men buy a rose for their lady and the women buy a book for their chap.

Felic Sant Jordi a tothom!

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