Monday, 23 April 2012, was our favorite holiday in Catalunya: Diada de Sant Jordi. St. George the Dragon slayer is the patron saint of Catalunya, and his day is celebrated widely here and in other parts of Spain.
The celebration is two-fold. First, the tradition is that men give the women in their life a red rose, and tables of rose-sellers appear on every corner during the day. Literally millions of roses are sold in a single day.
|Street booth selling roses|
The second aspect of the celebration is the giving of books - women traditionally give a book to the men in their life. This tradition began in about 1925 in Barcelona to celebrate the fact that both William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes died on 23 April 1616. UNESCO subsequently designated 23 April as World Book and Copyright Day (how's that for a charming title?). So along with tables and booths selling roses, tables and booths are found throughout the cities selling books.
Of course, we are willing to give away free books, and take advantage of the holiday to "flood the world with the Book of Mormon." In both 2009 and 2010, we distributed over 800 copies of the Book of Mormon on Sant Jordi. This year the missionaries set a goal to distribute 1,000 copies, and each ward and branch where the holiday is celebrated (and in some places where it is not celebrated) set goals and made plans. The result: 1,611 copies of the Book of Mormon distributed! We received many names and addresses of people willing to learn more about this unique book. In one case, a woman approached the missionaries and asked for two copies - she had received a copy last year but her husband and niece wanted their own copies!
|Archie and missionaries from Barcelona 2 at Plaza Catalunya|
|Elders Tyler and Fica presenting the Book|
|Archie guarding the cases of books - and distributing them to every passer-by!|
|Elders Reeves and Garces in the Plaza|