La diada di San Jordi, day of Sant George, is one of the most loved yearly event in Tarragona where people, books and roses mix happily along the Rambla. Although not a public holiday, everyone seems to find time for a stroll and, before midday, the venue is packed with people.
Combining roses with books was a marketing stroke of genius devices by some Barcelona book sellers in the 1920’s. Since then more books are sold in Catalonia on San Jordi than at any other time of they year. This has also infused the day with an intellectual connotation as many of the stalls have a political, cultural or humanitarian affiliation.
But the main protagonist of the day is the rose: there are roses for everyone’s taste, long stemmed roses packed in individually with the traditional spike of wheat, roses made from felt to pin on a lapel, roses made of clay, roses you can eat, all mixed in with the yellow and red stripes of the Catalan flag. And you don’t have to be someone sweetheart to get one, from children, to students, friends, housewives, old couples, everyone walks home with a rose, a book and a smile on their face.
The day closes with a human castle feat where the four collas (groups) of Tarragona come together and compete for the best tower execution of the day.