It doesn't matter that it is not a public holiday. Every 23rd April, the streets, ramblas and squares around the country are filled with books, roses and flags to celebrate the Diada de Sant Jordi (the Day of Saint George), a day of participation in which the written and spoken word takes the leading role.
But the Festival of the Book has not always been linked to the patron saint of Catalonia. Driven by the publisher, Vicent Clavel, to promote the book in Catalonia, the first Book Day was on 7th October 1927. Two years later, the booksellers held it on 23rd April, and the success led to the change of date, which coincided with the death of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.
Declared a Festa Nacional de Catalunya (National Festival of Catalonia), the Day of Sant Jordi has contributed since its inception to promote the production and marketing of books in Catalan. In addition, readers can interact with their favourite writers. Strolling amongst the book stalls and the tradition of giving roses just adds to the day.
The consolidation of Sant Jordi as the Festa del Llibre, internationally as well, comes with the proclamation by Unesco of 23rd April as World Book and the Rights of the Author Day.