Sant Jordi, the quintessential Catalan festivity of books, roses and love celebrated on 23 April, will not be as busy as other years in the country’s streets due to Covid-19, but with safety measures people will still be able to enjoy it outdoors – and not only in Catalonia, also all around the world.
The Catalan communities abroad, the foreign ministry and its offices abroad, and DIPLOCAT –the public-private consortium to publicize the values and assets of Catalonia to international public opinion– are only some of the entities organizing events to make sure Sant Jordi goes international.
The website BooksandRoses.cat offers afull list of events that will take place in the coming days to mark the day across the globe – it also provides downloadable material like flyers, greeting cards, posters and bookmarks in a number of languages. The website also allows anyone to send a virtual rose –including its color, stem, typical decorative complements and background –, along with a message. Last year over 12,000 roses were sent by email coinciding with the peak days of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
A book and a rose for Angela Merkel
DIPLOCAT’s secretary general, Laura Foraster, told Catalan News that some of the events they are organizing are online this year, including “a digital debate with people who have already visited for Sant Jordi” through their international visitors program. DIPLOCAT has also asked several Catalan authors to pick one of their books translated and select an internationally renowned figure to receive it. The entity will send them with a message of its author, an explanation on Sant Jordi and a bookmark. For instance, author Maria Barbal will send ‘País íntim’ in German to chancellor Angela Merkel.
Foreign minister Bernat Solé said last Friday while presenting the events that his department aims to “make Catalan culture go international” and give a boost to literature in Catalan.
Selection of events
Dozens of events are celebrated worldwide, most of which online so they can be followed from anywhere, and here is a short selection:
What: Catalan rock band Lax’n’Busto concert
When: Apr 23, 8 pm CET
Who organizes: Catalan delegation in Brussels
What: Catalan literature books and Sant Jordi material available
When: Apr 23 and following days
Who organizes: Catalan delegations abroad
Where: Roughly a hundred bookshops in France, Italy, the Balkans, probably the UK, Mexico and Canada
What: Debate on women and literature in Catalonia and Iceland, with Inés Garcia (translator), Yrsa Sigurdardóttir (author) and Úa Matthíasdóttir (editor). Moderating: Izaskun Arretxe (IRL)
When: Apr 28, 4 pm
Who organizes: Catalan delegation in Nordic countries
What: Book launches of writers of both sides of the Mediterranean to present their works on the Arabic world
When: Apr 23 to 27
Who organizes: Catalan office in Tunisia – it is the first time that the government organizes events related to Sant Jordi in Africa
What: Conversation between Catalan author Maria Barbal and nine translators of her work
When: Apr 20, 6 pm CET
Who organizes: Catalan delegations in Italy, Portugal, Central Europe, EU, UK, Balkans, France, Argentina and Mexico
What: Storytelling for children on the legend of Sant Jordi, with storyteller La Panero
When: Apr 23, 6 pm CET (RSVP needed)
Who organizes: Catalan delegations in Switzerland, Argentina, Mexico and Baltic countries
What: Some 50 events celebrating Sant Jordi, including a series of videos on the Mediterranean diet with top Catalan chefs explaining a recipe or talking about Catalan cuisine
When: Apr 19 to 24
Who organizes: Diplocat / Farragut Fund
Where: New York City and online
What: Digital debate with booksellers and journalists who visited Catalonia on Sant Jordi in previous years
When: Apr 21, 12 pm CET
Who organizes: Diplocat
What: Free Catalan language and culture lessons for Greek speakers
When: Apr 23 to 30
Who organizes: Consell Català Cetines (Athens)
What: Roses and book stalls
When: Apr 23 – 24
Who organizes: Catalan Tourism Board / Kudan House
Where: Garden of the Kudan House, Tokyo
What: Virtual reading club with Catalan and Italian readers
Who organizes: An entity called Sant Jordi a Casa, the Ca’Foscari University of Venice and the Library of Vilassar de Mar, with the collaboration of DIPLOCAT, the Delegation of the Catalan Government in Italy, the Vilassar de Mar City Council and the Barcelona Provincial Council.