Past Wednesday was Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day) here in Catalonia, Spain. Wikipedia has a great explanation of the day and its history:
La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day) […] is a Catalan holiday held on 23 April, with similarities to Valentine’s Day and some unique twists that reflect the antiquity of the celebrations. The main event is the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues. Historically, men gave women roses, and women gave men a book to celebrate the occasion — “a rose for love and a book forever.” In modern times, the mutual exchange of books is also customary. Roses have been associated with this day since medieval times, but the giving of books is a more recent tradition originating in 1923, when a bookseller started to promote the holiday as a way to commemorate the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on 23 April 1616. Barcelona is the publishing capital of both Catalan and Spanish languages and the combination of love and literacy was quickly adopted.
In Barcelona’s most visited street, La Rambla, and all over Catalonia, thousands of stands of roses and makeshift bookstalls are set up for the occasion. By the end of the day, some four million roses and 800,000 books will have been purchased. Most women will carry a rose in hand, and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place on this occasion.
Many book stores and cafes host readings by authors (including 24-hour marathon readings of different classics of the Catalan literature or the Spanish literature). Street performers and musicians in public squares add to the day’s atmosphere.
Catalonia exported its tradition of the book and the rose to the rest of the world. In 1995, UNESCO adopted 23 April as World Book Day.
Source: Saint George’s Day — Wikipedia
Here in Barcelona, the center of the city and the famous Rambla street was full of people looking for books in the stands of editorials and bookstores.
The day was a beautiful sunny spring day. Lots of men with roses for their loved ones…
On the streets there were many stands selling roses…
A lot of people in Rambla Catalunya, one of Barcelona’s streets with the most stands.
And also a lot of stands selling books…