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Sant Jordi, Saint Patron of Catalonia

Sant Jordi was a Roman and christian military man. Because he was loyal to his faith, he was tortured in the reign of the Roman emperor Diocleciannus, around the year 303. One of the legends attributed to Sant Jordi, and the one that became quicklier popular, explains that a dragon frightened the people in a town. In order to calm the dragon, they had to give him a lamb and a maid chosen at random. One day the King's daughter was selected and she was carried in front of the dragon. Sant Jordi, miraculously, saved the princess maid and defeated the dragon. The maid, the King and everybody were converted to the christian faith.

The Catalan Kings frequently showed their devotion to Sant Jordi and requested his help in their fight against the unfaithfuls. In those times, countries so different as Georgia, England, Greece and Catalonia chose Sant Jordi as their Saint Patron.
The Government of Catalonia was the main promoter of this devotion. The States General, meeting in Barcelona, decided to build a Chapel in the Palace of the Generalitat in honour of Sant Jordi. In 1456, Sant Jordi's Day was declared holiday in the city of Barcelona.

At the end of the XIX century, Sant Jordi became a Catalan symbol. His fight against the dragon to free the princess maid was understood as a symbol of the Catalan fight for its freedom. The Rose's Fair is celebrated also during Sant Jordi´s Day. This traditional fair is being held since the XVth century. Since 1926 Catalans also celebrate the Book´s Day during Sant Jordi´s Day on April 23rd. This festivity is commemorated everywhere in Catalonia.
Hence, the traditional Rose Festival celebrated in Barcelona since the Middle Ages to honor chivalry and romantic love, a day for men and mice alike to give their true loves roses. Over four million roses and half a million books are sold in Catalonia on Sant Jordi's Day, men giving their inamoratas roses and the ladies giving books in return.

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I hope you understand now a bit more about the history of Catalonia, the photo shows St. Jordi fighting with the dragon. From the dragon's blood sprouted a rosebush, from which the hero plucked the prettiest for the princess.

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