Written by Scarlett Murray,
13th April 2023

Bookworms, language enthusiasts, and lovers – pop April 23rd in your calendar, it is a fantastic day of cultural celebration in Spain. 

illustration of dragon and lovers

A dragon, lovers, books and roses – what’s not to love?

April 23rd combines Spanish Language Day, a celebration of reverend writer Miguel De Cervantes Saaverda, and in Catalonia, the Festival of Sant Jordi. It is World Book Day meets Valentine’s Day. A day for gifting a heart-winning combination of books and roses.

Find homes in Catalonia via our property portal.

Spanish Language Day

Spanish language illustration

How is your Spanish?

Spanish has the second most native speakers across the globe. (Mandarin takes the top title). From Spain to Chile to Peru, twenty countries have as it as their official language. After Mexico, the USA has the largest Spanish speaking population in the world. It is predicted that by 2050, one in three people in the USA will speak Spanish (this includes bilingual people).

Spanish is one of the six official languages of the UN. And the UN created Spanish Language Day in 2010 to recognise and celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.

If you are buying a property in Spain and want to learn or even just brush up on the language, we have articles on how to do that, including: learning Spanish for your move to Spain and how to learn a new language without going back to school. Even if you are principally learning Spanish to help you navigate life there, knowing Spanish opens up so many possibilities for travelling, whether it be Cuba or Puerto Rico. Not only is it beautiful language, but it is also an incredibly useful one too.

Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra

Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra

Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra.

April 23rd was chosen as the date for Spanish Language Day because it was on this day in 1616 that the famous writer, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, died. Strangely enough, his death coincides with that our very own beloved writer, William Shakespeare. So, English Language Day takes place on April 23rd too. Moreover, because April 23rd is the death day of such incredible writers, it is also the UN recognised international World Book and Copyright Day.

Miguel is most famous for writing Don Quixote, widely considered the first modern novel. Originally, it was published in two parts. The first in 1605 had the full title, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (“The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha”). Then in 1605, Segunda parte del ingenioso caballero don Quijote de la Mancha (“Second Part of the Ingenious Knight Don Quixote of La Mancha”). The protagonist, Don Quioxote, becomes so fixated on chivalric romances that he tries at becoming a knight-errant himself. It was translated into English in 1612. It is one of the most widely read novels of all time. You can even check it out Good Reads where a contemporary readership has given this timeless classic a 3.9-star rating.

La Diada de Sant Jordi

Diada de Sant Jordi

Find your new favourite book!

Over in Catalonia, April 23rd is the day to celebrate the patron Sant Jordi. You may be more familiar with Sant Jordi’s English name, Saint George. Yes, England has the same patron saint as Catalonia!

The gifts of roses, the celebration of love, and Sant Jordi date back to the 15th century. Meanwhile, the book aspect was introduced in 1923 by Spanish writer Vincente Cavel who wanted a day dedicated to Spanish literature. Today, market stalls of books and roses line the streets. You can pick up new publications. Get your book signed by your favourite author. And listen to readings. You can even see re-enactments of Saint George slaying the dragon.

Moreover, it is one of only three dates in a year that the historic political building, Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya is freely open to the public. It is beautifully decorated with roses to commemorate the occasion. Additionally, the façade of the Casa Batlló is dressed in roses and there are tours too.

So, fill your arms with books and roses and enjoy an amazing day out in Catalonia!

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