On Sunday, Polly and I woke up with the intention to find the Hunger Games in English. Spain dubs all of their movies which is why the Spanish premiere wasn’t until April 20th, a month later than the US premiere. However, Polly and I did not want to watch the movie in Spanish (we wanted to do as little thinking as possible), so we researched and found a theatre that showed the original movie. We took the metro to the theatre and bought our tickets which had assigned seats. Not normal, but this is Spain. What is normal? We were escorted to our seats and watched the theatre fill up.
The movie was better than I expected and exactly what I imagined. There were Spanish subtitles, so I got to learn some new words and phrases:
“Que la suerte esté siempre de vuestra parte” (May the odds be ever in your favor)
“Maldita sea” (Damn you….don’t worry, I won’t use this one)
My Spanish vocabulary is increasing every day. Clearly, I will be using these words in every day conversation….
At night, we saw Gaudi’s Battló House which was all lit up and absolutely stunning. Gaudi really was eccentric. And a genius.
On Monday, we checked out of our hotel at 11:00 a.m., but our flight didn’t leave until 8:00 p.m. so that left us with 9 hours of free time.
It didn’t take long to realize that there was some sort of holiday going on in the streets on Barcelona. Crowds of people clogging the streets, vendors selling books, vendors selling roses, an abundance of couples…is this Valentine’s Day?
La Diada de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Day)
St. George’s day is a holiday that is celebrated in Catalunya (the autonomous community of Spain where Barcelona is located) on April 23. The main event is the exchange of gifts between couples, families or friends. A Catalan lady explained to Polly and me that men give women roses, and women give men a book (a rose for love and a book forever), but as the holiday evolved, the mutual exchange of books is more common (or Ebooks…soooo 21st century). The legend behind the roses originates from Medieval times. There are many different versions of the story, but basically Saint George, a soldier in the Roman army, found and killed a dragon saving a town and a princess. The blood shed by the dragon turned into roses which St. George presented to the princess. This day became known as “The Day of the Rose”, and has been celebrated in Catalyuna since the middle ages.
The exchange of the books was added in 1923 when a bookseller started to promote this holiday as a way to commemorate the deaths of two famous authors on April 23, 1616, Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Since that date, St. George’s day has also been known as “The Day of the Book”.
La Rambla, a major street in Barcelona, fills with vendors selling either books or roses.
Polly and I got to participate in this holiday when we ventured to Corte Ingles and bought the “Hunger Games” book in Spanish, and then received a rose with the purchase. We didn’t want to be left out of the fun. Definitely a cool holiday that I wouldn’t have ever known about otherwise.
Stay tuned for the Barcelona video in the next post!