The San Jordi feast day is the national Catalan one. San Jordi (Saint George) is the patron saint of many nations, in all of which he slays a dragon or a monster, sometimes to save a princess and sometimes not. In some legends, the monster is a human.
In Catalonia, the tradition grew up to present a book to a man and a flower (now a rose) to a woman but often now one brings a book, takes one and takes a rose. Casal Catalá d’Irlanda organised this event today with the support of Chapters Bookshop in Parnell Street, Dublin.
Casal Catalá is a Catalan cultural organisation which has chapters or branches in different parts of the world. The Ireland branch organised to bring books, roses and refreshments to the event, also promoting it. The attendance was mostly Catalan with a sprinkling of others, including Irish; there were a number of children present.
The Senyera, the traditional flag of Catalonia and Valencia was displayed close by where the event was being held, upstairs in Chapters Bookstore. The Catalan legend of St. Jordi was performed by Berta Freixas (with amusing interventions from Joan Pau) and Diarmuid Breatnach told the story of how the Irish mythological character Cú Chulainn came by his name.
Joan Pau and Marina Aresté Dolcet then played ukeleles as accompaniment to three Catalan songs, for which they distributed song sheets and which most people joined in singing.
People had gathered to meet and greet from 3pm but some were still arriving at 5.30pm as the event neared the end. This was the 2nd year the St. Jordi celebration had been organised by Casal Catalá d’Irlanda. They have organised a number of other Catalan traditional events but also some to promote Catalan understanding of Irish language and history.