Exit Sant Jordi. Enter Santa Jordina.

Sant Jordi (Saint George) has always been one of Catalonia’s heroes, particularly thanks to the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. According to this story he tamed and slayed the dragon that demanded the princess, who remained unnamed, as his next human sacrifice.

Now it looks like Sant Jordi is passed his sell-by date, as Santa Jordina is winning ground and acts in her own right. But not as the passive princess who waits to be rescued, but as the girl who rescues others or empowers the people.

Her voice is heard in a couple of books that have appeared lately, like La revolta de Santa Jordina (Amsterdam Llibres), Santa Jordina (La Galera), Georgina i la dragona (Editorial Beascoa), La Jordina i el drac Parrac (Baula) and La princesa, els llibres i el drac (La Galera).

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Since the Middle Ages Saint George’s name day, and of course Saint Georgina’s as well, is celebrated on 23 April and in those days men used to offer a red rose to their lover as a token of their affection. Nearly a century ago another practice was added and women gave their lover a book.

Nowadays this custom is recognized internationally and the UNESCO has turned it into an annual event: World Book Day. Fortunately today books are given as a present to women and men alike.

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