surinenglish

Jorge, or Jordi, is venerated in Spain

A dragon is burned in Cáceres, Extremadura, where St George is also patron saint.
A dragon is burned in Cáceres, Extremadura, where St George is also patron saint. / SUR
  • In Catalonia and Aragon people buy books and flowers, particularly roses, to give to their loved ones on St George’s Day

St George is also the patron saint of Catalonia (San Jordi), Aragón (San Jorge) and Cáceres in Extremadura.

The legend popular all over Catalonia is said to have occurred in Montblanc, where a dragon constantly attacked the kingdom. The petrified inhabitants decided to give two lambs every day to satisfy the dragon’s hunger and prevent further attacks on the village. Soon the animals became scarce and so it was decided to draw lots to send a person and a lamb. One day a princess was chosen to accompany the lamb, but a knight called Jordi slew the dragon and rescued the princess. From the blood that flowed from the body of the monster a red rose blossomed, which Jordi handed to the princess.

The king offered the knight all the riches he desired, but he preferred that they be allocated to the inhabitants of the kingdom. A church was built in his name, from which flowed miraculous water that was able to heal the sick.

April 23 is not a public holiday in Catalonia, however, special flower and book markets are held in the centre of cities and towns.

Many people buy books and flowers, particularly roses, to give to their loved ones on St George’s Day.

The St George’s Cross - Creu de San Jordi - is one of the highest civil distinctions awarded in Catalonia.

In Aragón, April 23 is a public holiday known as the Dís de Aragón.

Legend says that God sent St George, who descended from Heaven riding on a horse, to aid the King of Aragon, Pedro I, in his conquest of Huesca in 1096.

To celebrate this victory, Saint George’s cross was used as the insignia of Huesca and Aragón.

As in Catalonia, roses and books are exchanged among individuals, often bearing ribbons with the colours of Aragon’s flag.

In Cáceres, San Jorge festivities take the form of a grand parade including a figure representing the dragon that is later burned.