Roses are Red – The Sant Jordy Festival in Girona

I’ve just returned from spending a few days in Girona, a city in Northern Catalonia, Spain. In addition to its rich history Girona is now a popular destination for cyclists. Whilst my husband was out cycling every day I was discovering the city in my own way and photographing it.

This blog focuses on images taken during the Sant Jordy Festival, the Catalan equivalent of St. George’s Day. Love and literature are celebrated – it’s traditional for women to be given roses and men to be given books. Sant Jordi is the Patron Saint of Catalunya and the day seems intertwined with Catalan identity. Red roses were ubiquitous alongside the reds and yellows of the Catalan flag, and the yellow suspended ribbons signifying support for the struggle for Catalan Independence:

Florist selling Sant Jordi roses

A toddler hands a red rose to a happy recipient, Girona 2023

Women and Red Roses, Girona, 2023

Girona, Sant Jordi, April 23, 2023

Below, patisseries in Girona with special rose-decorated windows and cakes:

I came across a procession – a tall dragon (albeit with human legs) followed by a rhythmic band, rather like a samba percussion parade. I followed it through the streets of Girona:

Underneath the Sant Jordi dragon

A bystander at the parade

Here’s a selection of street photos featuring the people of Girona and red roses:

Whilst sitting having a coffee with my husband I felt impelled to capture some of the passers by:

Later on I went down to the main square, Plaça de la Independència, to check out what was happening:

Dad in a Sant Jordi T shirt

Love is in the Air

Hanging out in Plaça de la independència

There was a stage set up at one end of the square with a band playing traditional Catalan music. This inspired people to get up and dance folkloric Sardana dances, in circles and also in couples:

Sardana circle dance

Multi-generational Sardana circle dance

Below, a few of the musicians from the band Cobra Bisbal Jove. I was intrigued by the fact the woman playing recorder with her left hand also played percussion on a small drum with a stick in her right hand:

Musicians from the band Cobra Bisbal Jove

And finally a shot of the architecture in the Plaça de la Independència, where much of the facade is adorned with Catalan flags:

Detail of building facade adorned with Catalan flags in Plaça de la independència

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