10 Apr 2017
‘SANT JORDI’.- Culture and Traditions
Week of cultural activities in Catalonia. World Book Day
Is been told in the legend that the most beloved princess of the town, was given to a dragon which frightened them, because there were no sheep enough to feed him. Saint George, valiant knight, was in the vicinity of the village and after hearing about the news, unable to allow that, faced the beast. He struck him with a sword and wounded the dragon fatally. Blood gushed from the wound that, at the feet of the knight, became a bright puddle where precious red roses bloomed.
Here was where the tradition of giving, every April 23, the day of saint knighted, a red rose to every beloved woman, was born. To this was added, years later, the present of a book to men, in commemoration of the celebration of World Book Day in honour of the death of two major milestones of literary history, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, dead on April 23, also according to the legend.
Generations of parents and children have heard about the legendary knight and the dragon killing, but if there is a land that traditionally has taken the reins of the festival, that has been Catalonia. In our lands, each 23 of this month, although not listed as a national holiday, the crowd is organized to go out and expose, on a claim way somehow, liveliness and brilliance of a celebration that combines tradition, culture and gastronomy typical. Maximum exponent of a unique day, the city of Barcelona assumes the primary role of the historical date and includes in its most emblematic streets –Las Ramblas and surroundings-, hundreds of stands where buying roses and stalls where not only books but also their authors, are the main focus of attention of visitors and of the people of this small country. Activities related to cultural leisure, such as the mythical reading of the legend of Saint George, concerts, literary events in libraries and a long list of events, come together in the Catalan calendar every April 23.
And while the popularity of this feast is established in our community on the Mediterranean, there are many countries that pay honour to Saint George and which have in this saint, its patron. Within the Spanish geography, communities such as Aragon, Caceres or Santurce (Vizcaya) celebrate, in a different way of Catalan people (also adopted by the Balearic Islands and Valencia), the sanctification of this knight, who carried the recovery of these lands to the Christians against Muslims in times of the reconquest thousand years ago. But if there is a country that pays tribute to its patron and which has the greatest international impact of this celebration, this is England. Most important festival, April 23 became the day of national pride for the English. An essential date in order to imbibe good English culture, attending to any of the sports tournaments of football, cricket or rugby organized as part of the cultural celebrations of one of the oldest traditions of England, or coming near to English food festivals where you can taste traditional sweets, cheeses and beers; and attend to theatrical performances coincide with the celebrations for the anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, whom the English people also pays tribute.
Who was going to tell to this gentleman, Roman military and Greek and Turkish origin, he would end up becoming a hero of a legend, despite actually being a martyr who was beheaded for not renege on his strong Christian faith.
At the moment, although the true story treats him so, we will continue living this feast with the cultural connotation that after years and years, has settled in our lands and has taken a toll on the lives of people in each of these regions that celebrate, as well as they know, the feast; in a festive atmosphere where the cultural values and feelings of a nation to defend a lifestyle and kindness and sociability of people, come together.
Avant Grup, transport service supplier with different cultural and sporting entities of our country, echoes the traditions and culture to coincide with a Saint George’s Day where the protagonists are the book and the rose….
It’s a good experience to share a bus tour or visit any town accompanied by a book …
PROPOSAL OF TOURISTIC, CULTURAL AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES.
Some of the best Catalan writers and poets were born, lived or died in the regions of Barcelona. And they were so enamoured of the area that they immortalised its beauty spots, haunted houses, outdoor markets, cobbled streets, etc. in their works.
And you too can visit them thanks to a series of well-signposted literary routes
Literary routes to highlight:
The poet and priest Jacint Verdaguer was responsible for turning Catalan literature on its head. The Verdaguer Route in Folgueroles takes in the places of his childhood and youth.
A writer, playwright, journalist, painter and collector, Rusiñol attracted many intellectuals and artists to the town, who between them left behind an impressive architectural, literary and aesthetic legacy.
Salvador Espriu lived in Santa Coloma de Farners, Viladrau and Barcelona, but where he felt most at home was in Arenys de Mar, the town of his forebears and the place where he would spend the summer with his family.
In Roda de Ter, the Miquel Martí i Pol Literary Route gives you the chance to visit some of the most important places in the life of this prose writer, translator and poet.
Despite her passion for the Empordà region and Greece, the writer Maria Àngels Anglada never forgot Vic, the city of her birth, and Casa Fontcuberta, the old house in which she was born. In fact, no writer has done more to raise the profile of the capital of Osona.
Gaudí beyond Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect who has become internationally recognised as one of the most prodigious experts in his discipline, as well as one of the top exponents of modernism.
His exceptional ground-breaking genius made him the inventor of a unique, personal and incomparable architectural language that defies classification.
His talent for designing spaces and transforming materials grew and prospered until it eventually metamorphosed into a veritable genius for three-dimensional creation.
The imagination of the architect Antoni Gaudí knew no bounds and he applied it to any challenge he was given, always in his unmistakable signature style.
Crypt of the Colònia Güell
Gaudí had been commissioned to build the entire church of the Colònia Güell, a textile model village in Santa Coloma de Cervelló. However, due to the death of the industrialist Eusebi Güell, only the wonderful crypt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, ended up bearing the architect’s signature.
Mataró is home to what is considered the first building designed by Gaudí. It is an industrial bleaching shed that he was commissioned to build by the Mataró Workers’ Cooperative between 1878 and 1883.
This charming site was completed in 1906 and is located in the outskirts of La Pobla de Lillet. Stonework, water and vegetation are elegantly combined, creating a variety of atmospheric settings, featuring bridges, sculptures and artificial caves. It’s a bucolic spot that you can reach in style aboard the Tren del Ciment (Cement Train).
First Glorious Mystery
The path to the Holy Cave of Montserrat is a veritable outdoor museum. Many renowned artists were commissioned to contribute to the so-called Montserrat Monumental Rosary.
These two buildings, the winery and porter’s lodge, located in Sitges and completed in 1901, bear many of Gaudí’s hallmarks, although some authors question whether it was in fact his work. The winery stands out for its triangular profile and the fact that it is built completely out of stone.
The gastronomic heritage of Catalonia
Cuisine is geography, history and culture. To taste and enjoy a country’s culinary products is to explore all its traditions at once. We warmly invite you to enjoy food and drink tourism in Catalonia.
From before the Middle Ages, gastronomic fairs and markets have been held in Catalonia. They started as necessary meeting points between merchants and buyers, but also became points of social interaction.
The markets as we know them today emerged as a response to the scarcity of supplies as a result of the concentrations of people: dates had to be arranged for the commercial exchange.
The fairs, on the other hand, relied on livestock movement and the trade routes, were linked to religious festivals and would be held annually. Currently there are still villages like Guimerà, Peratallada, Batea, Vic or Montblanc which, once a year, hold these fairs to recall those of the Middle Ages.
ROUTES TO TASTE THE COUNTRY:
Wine growing in Catalonia has a long tradition. It dawned In the Mediterranean thanks to the Greek and Roman civilisations. Wine culture, landscapes and tradition have therefore formed part of the history of Catalonia for many centuries. Engaging in wine tourism in Catalonia is synonymous with discovering and enjoying wine, the territory, the culture and the gourmet cuisine of the regions that comprise the eleven denominacions d’origen Vi and those that form the single denominació d’origen Cava.
Cava route in Catalunya
Widely recognized as the birthplace of Cava, the wine region of Penedès lays claim to several other noteworthy distinctions as well, including the oldest vineyards and largest amount of production.
The cava are a part of Catalan history. Each glass preserves a small piece of the past, which is why wine tourism in Catalonia is about much more than a tasting
One a far better learning experience can be had by visiting the wineries of Penedès in person and witnessing the Cava production first hand. They are wineries designed by some of the most important Catalan modernist artists.
Olive Oil Turism
Every day, more and more people are coming to enjoy olive oil tourism. It is a way of immersing yourself into Catalan culture through an indispensable element of the Mediterranean diet: olive oil.
Olives have been a part of the Catalan landscape for millennia, and have shaped the culture of these lands. There are five protected designation of origin oils throughout Catalonia, each with its own well-defined flavour and body. Climate, soil type and variety of olives used all contribute to these different varieties. We have various local species, such as the ‘argudell’ from L’Empordà, or the ‘morruda’ from El Baix Ebre.
Catalan cuisine travels with you
It is common knowledge that Catalan cuisine is one of the brightest stars on the international culinary scene. A treasure this valuable needs to be shared. So don your apron, because we are going to teach you how to create some of the most exquisite Catalan dishes.
Catalan gastronomy is based on quality, local produce you can find at markets.
Museums are the showcase of our culture, including our gastronomy. Learn more about Catalan history, traditions and wine and culinary customs by visiting cultural sites such as the Vinseum, the Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia, in Vilafranca Del Penedès, the Fishing M