Rose of Sant Jordi


The Catalan version of the legend of Sant Jordi, Saint George, tells that after a fierce battle between the knight and the dragon, the beast fell, pierced by sharp iron. From the drops of blood that reached the earth a rosebush grew that blooms profusely each April. This is the traditional explanation for the custom of giving roses on St George’s Day, 23rd April.

Legends and imagined stories to one side, we know that the tradition of giving roses to loved ones goes back a long way. Sant Jordi’s link to the world of chivalry and courtly love could have been the basis of this tradition. We also know that in 15th century Barcelona, they held the Fira dels Enamorats, the lovers’ fair, and rose vendors set up around the Palau de la Generalitat. At the same time, it was customary to give a rose to the women who attended Mass in the chapel of Sant Jordi in the Palau. Finally, there are those who say the custom of giving roses has Roman roots, particularly stemming from celebrations in honour of the goddess Flora, which were later Christianised.

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