Sant Jordi’s Day, the country’s unique celebration of reading and romance on April 23, and one of Catalonia’s best-loved annual festivals, continues to grow and grow. Traditionally the day of the year when people in Catalonia swap books and roses as tokens of love and affection, since 1995 Sant Jordi’s Day has coincided with World Book Day, and it accounts for most of the year’s book sales. In fact, the rows of book stalls during this year’s event in Barcelona will not only occupy the Passeig de Gràcia avenue in the city centre, as they did for the first time in the 2022 edition, but they will also extended to the iconic La Rambla boulevard on one side and Carrer Gran de Gràcia on the other.
This means that the so-called “superilla literària”, or “literary superblock”, where the vast majority of booksellers will be concentrated on the day, will be 10% bigger this year, with a surface area of around 154,000 square metres. That is the equivalent to about 22 football fields, according to the president of the Catalonia Chamber of Books, Patrici Tixis, and the president of the Guild of Booksellers of Catalonia, Eric del Arco, during the presentation of this year’s event in mid-March.
“Good” sales and attendance
The event’s organisers and representatives of book and flower sellers say they are expecting a “good” year in terms of public attendance and sales, especially as this year’s Sant Jordi’s Day falls on a Sunday. They add that they expect the total number of stalls selling books and roses to surpass last year’s figure, when there were more than 400 stalls in Barcelona.
While the nerve centre of this year’s celebrations will be focused around Passeig de Gràcia, there will be other areas of the city with areas of stalls selling books and roses, such as different locations in Eixample, Les Corts, Poblenou, Sant Andreu and Sarrià.
Yet the big novelty this year is recovering Barcelona’s iconic La Rambla as a centre of the celebrations for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The part of La Rambla going down from Plaça Catalunya will be occupied solely by flower and book stalls, while parts of the Ciutat Vella neighbourhood and Plaça Reial will be dedicated to literary associations and groups.
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