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On April 23, Saint George’s Day , Catalonia is literally filled with roses: of all colors, in bouquets, one by one … and it is all due to a legend.

According to tradition, Saint George was a Roman military man who lived in Cappadocia (present-day Turkey) in the 3rd century. George, who was a member of the personal guard of the emperor Diocletian, refused to execute an edict of the emperor that forced him to persecute the Christians and for this reason he was martyred and beheaded. Very soon he began to be venerated as a saint in the eastern part of the Roman Empire .

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Saint George’s day

But over the centuries this story was transformed: Jorge became a knight and elements such as a dragon and a princess were added . The legend was collected in writing in 1264 by Iacobus de Voragine in his book “Legenda sanctorum”, popularly known as the golden legend.

The most popular version explains that in the Catalan town of Montblanc there lived a terrible dragon that wreaked havoc among the population and the livestock. To appease him, a person chosen by lottery was sacrificed to the monster daily. One day luck pointed out the princess, who would have died had it not been for Saint George on horseback, who faced the dragon and killed it. Tradition adds that a rose bush with red flowers was born from the spilled blood.

For this reason, in Catalonia, since the 15th century, on “Sant Jordi” day, lovers give a rose to their beloved. Such is the tradition that on that day, Barcelona is literally filled with stalls selling roses. It is difficult to see a person on the street without a rose in hand. The rose is accompanied by an ear of corn, which symbolizes the fertility .

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