St. George’s Day is something rather special. It is a big festival in Catalonia, but it is a working day. In fact, when it falls on a Sunday, it seems as though the day loses some of its intensity.It’s as though the celebration needs to take place on a work day.On this day, everyone seems happier.The city is filled with books and roses.The centre of Barcelona and all the neighbourhoods are bursting with school children who come out to experience the festivities and the tradition.On the streets, on the metro, on the buses… everywhere you go you see tons of people with roses and books in their hands and a smile on their face… Plus, among the many activities organised to celebrate the day, there are some which are in support of good causes.
The St. George’s Day Opening Speech on Reading marks the official start of the festival activities on the afternoon of 22 April, although it is not the first, because the events linked to this day start a few days beforehand and continue for a few days after.This year’s speech will be given by the writer Albert Sánchez Piñol, who joins the list of writers who have done so since the tradition started in 2003 with José Saramago and whose numbers include the recently departed José Luis Sampedro.
Biblioteques de Barcelona begins the celebrations on 18 and 19 April in support of a good cause, with the blood donation campaign at 10 libraries, one per district.There will also be other initiatives in the city so that everyone, young and old, will be able to get their book and rose.One of the most well-known initiatives is Roses contra l’oblit (Roses against Neglect), promoted by Friends of the Elderly in collaboration with the City Council.It involves taking a rose to an elderly person who lives alone and keeping them company for a while.
As well as the blood donation campaign on 18 and 19 April, Biblioteques de Barcelona is organising a whole host of activities of every kind and for all ages, including a book exchange, presentations and paper rose making workshops, among many others.
The Casa de la Ciutat is opening its doors so that citizens will be able to take a look around the most stately parts of the City Hall: the Escala d’Honor, the Galeria Gòtica and the Saló de Cent. There will be guided tours from 10 am to 8 pm, with access via Carrer de la Ciutat. In Plaça Sant Jaume, to the left of the entrance to the City Hall, there will, as every year, be a stall selling municipal publications, where you will find books published by Barcelona City Council.