23 April is UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day and Sant Jordi, the love and literature day massively celebrated in Barcelona and all over Catalonia. People exchange books and roses as a token of appreciation. Nowadays, it is the day when more than 1.5 million books and more than 6 million roses are sold in Catalonia. In recent years all this has gone global: 150 events organized by volunteers in 50 countries. We would love to see the whole world sharing #BooksAndRoses on or around this date.
The #BooksAndRoses campaign (website, hashtag, social media) showcases the great diversity of organizers and events. People from all walks of life, be it those who imported the exchange of books and roses or those who exported the traditional Sant Jordi celebration. All of them share their love for literature, books and reading.
Why all this?
Saint Patrick’s Day or the Lunar New Year are now celebrated all over the world. So, we thought sharing #BooksAndRoses on 23 April is a fun way to produce smiles, promote literature wherever you are. And we want to share it with the whole world.
The events are organized by many different volunteers, i. e. bookshops (big and small), libraries, expat communities, cultural centers, Catalonia-related offices abroad, individuals and groups. The original idea of gathering event information on a global, one-stop website was launched and curated by the North-American publisher Liz Castro in 2013. Events all over the world have been organized ever since exchanging books and roses became a tradition in the 1920s (as explained in the flyer at the end of this page or on the Downloads page).
Join in if you want to …
… make people smile! Exchanging #BooksAndRoses on or around 23 April as a token of appreciation is a wonderfully simple gesture of paying tribute to books, literature, writers and the great pleasure of reading in general.
How to join?
Sign up for the newsletter by clicking URL, download flyers or design templates here URL and get inspired by best practices and news from around in the blog section URL. If you simply wish to attend an event please check the world map or send us a message. Feel free to spread the word, if possible #BooksAndRoses so we can see it.
How to add an event to the world map?
Please click URL and send us the event details or send us the link to your event page (on your own website or social media profiles). Our website will features this link to make sure everybody knows how to contact you.
And how did giving books start?
We’ll take any excuse to give each other books! People in Catalonia have been celebrating Sant Jordi on April 23 for around 600 years –since 1436, but it wasn’t until 1929 that Barcelona-based writer and publisher Vicent Clavel organized a local celebration to promote books and reading. He chose April 23 because it’s also the anniversary of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes (author of “Don Quixote – The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”) and William Shakespeare. In 1995, the celebration spread around the world when the UNESCO declared 23 April “World Book and Copyright Day”. Check the flyer at the bootom of this page and further campaign materials on the Downloads page.
Is Sant Jordi the equivalent of Valentine’s Day?
Yes and no. While it is true that Sant Jordi is the day to give your lover a gift of a book and a rose, the emphasis is much more on the books rather than the romance. And the book-giving is not limited to lovers: parents give books to their kids, friends give books to their companions, and every woman gets a rose (alas, yes, generally, just women but who knows what the future may bring).
23 April in Barcelona and all over Catalonia
You will love it! Check hashtags such as #SantJordi #SantJordi2020 #SantJordi20 used on social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) will give you an immediate insight into the countless activities organized by, literally, everybody. It is always celebrated in every single town on 23 April, no matter what day of the week it falls on. In Barcelona, you’ll find the largest gatherings, and the most author signings, but don’t stop there. Mataró, a city close to Barcelona, is famous for its Fogonada fire festival and the charming walled city of Montblanc reenacts the legend of Sant Jordi each year in full regalia.
This website only features events outside Catalonia which share the #BooksAndRoses spirit (be them traditional Sant Jordi celebrations or not).
- 159 events
- 111 cities
- 39 countries