Today’s Saint George’s (or Sant Jordi’s) day. I’m not the biggest fan of celebrating saints’ days, but as George most likely didn’t exist, I generally go along with this one. The fact that George is the patron saint of my former home and my adopted home makes it easy to remember.
As you may well know, there is no tradition in England for celebrating St. George, at least nothing more than having an extra pint of Stella at the Rose and Crown. Some English nationalist parties (the BNP, the English Democrats) bemoan the fact that the English celebrate numerous other festivals (St. Patrick’s day, Eid) but not the day of their own patron saint. The truth is that the English seem to have lost touch with their ‘national’ traditions around the 18th century… which coincides with the time we started conquering new lands and discovering new cultures*.
Interestingly, I received a text message from Vodafone two days ago which suggested that ‘On the national day of the UK, sign up for our My Country service and save on calls home’. Huh. At first I thought that Vodafone were talking about St. George’s day, which is in no way ‘the national day of the UK’, though I don’t doubt that the BNP would make it so. Actually, April 21st is the Queen’s birthday… so maybe that’s what they were getting at. Not her official birthday, mind, her real one.
In Catalonia, Sant Jordi is celebrated with a rather sweet version of the English St. Valentine’s traditions. Called ‘the day of the rose’ and ‘the day of the book’, Catalan men traditionally give their sweetheart a rose, while Catalan women are supposed to give their fella a book. The tradition has now become more egalitarian (and profitable, mark you), as both genders now expect to receive a book and a rose. So those of you with Catalan girlfriends or wives: don’t forget to buy them a nice cookery book, or even better a book about roses – kill two birds with one stone. You, meanwhile, should expect a manly tome on Catalan history, tax law or Barça.
Speaking of which, the footage of large, pale men beating the shit out of eachother on Les Rambles can mean only one thing: English football fans are in town again. Yes, the savages from the north are hear to support their team of nobodies ‘Manchester Foot Ball United’ or something. They’re playing Barça in the first leg of the semi-final of the Champions’ League. Given that Manchester will probably win, Catalan women should prepare themselves for a miserable supper starting at about half-past ten tonight.
*By ‘discovering new cultures’, I of course mean ‘eradicating newly discovered cultures’.