Happy Sant Jordi, people!
the little guy and fish made it out alive
My new home, Catalunya, has some beautiful traditions.
On Easter, instead of just getting a few eggs full of chocolate, little kids are dazzled by entire figurines of their favorite characters made completely out of chocolate. (yes that's a boat made of chocolate and it has indeed been processed through my body)
In winter, families and friends sit outside for hours during a colçotada to enjoy delicious onions charred on the grill, dipped in an insane almond pepper sauce (INSANE I tell you) with wine and cava and sunshine.
And on April 23rd, they have the beautiful celebration of Sant Jordi.
Sant Jordi is a day of festivity in the region of Catalunya, where you find the city exploding with roses and books. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.
The day is based on an old story, passed down through generations. As we've discussed on this blog, old stories, no matter how much we love them, usually have old values. And these discussions are kind of where we live here.
So those who have heard of the day may know where I'm going with this. But for the rest of you - just Her Me Out.
one of gaudi’s cribs
The story of Sant George (or Jordi in Catalan) goes something like this: the village of Montblanc was under the power of a ferocious dragon, who constantly fed on innocent townspeople. In order to handle the sitch, the town came up with a system, in which a person would be sacrificed to the dragon every day.
Apparently, this system was working fine (?) until the day arrived when the beloved Princess was chosen for sacrifice, (GASP) and the king was super sad. But then, Sant Jordi came and (you guessed it) rescued her from mortal peril and saved the town forever. From the blood of the slain dragon, spurt forth a rose bush, and he gifted one of the flowers to the Princess.
Now, on the day of Sant Jordi, the streets of Catalunya are filled with stalls selling roses in memory of the valiant Sant Jordi. The tradition lives through the gifting of roses to daughters, girlfriends, sisters, and mothers. And, more recently, the tradition has extended to books for the men of the families. The roses and the books make this day truly alive with love and knowledge.
But yes it's also some gendered bullsh**.
I am all for the celebration, don't get me wrong. It is beautiful in every single way to celebrate the people you love with flowers and, more importantly, the written word. But we can't sit around pretending that the fact that women were given ROSES and men were given KNOWLEDGE - on a major holiday - hasn't lead to some confusion of worth.
Goodnight stories for Rebel Girls
or stories of ladies being badass
If ever there is a discussion about why women haven't quite made it into the forefront of many industries, turn to stories like this. Women have, for such a long part of history, (like even right now in some instances) been valued for beauty and not necessarily encouraged to turn to books / knowledge for power. And men have had books handed to them so casually that it's no surprise they've written them on every subject.
Catalunya is a very progressive place when it comes to feminism. They know the deal. But it's important, on beautiful days like this, to think about how our own culture has perpeturaped us. And still celebrate - but on our own terms.
On that note, for my first Sant Jordi, I was gifted a rose AND this badass book full of powerful women's stories. It's a book that I was once found reading in a Waterstones, while crying to myself. I never bought it.
But now I have it, only this time it's in Catalan.
And watching a lot of young girls purchasing this book yesterday for Sant Jordi brought the tears right back!
Honestly, the best Sant Jordi gift I could possibly imagine.
Happy Sant Jordi, people!
My film Perpeturaped. will be screened at the Artemis Women In Action Film festival on April 28th. It will also be available to be screened online through the festival. All information can be found here.
In honor, this month is perpetu-rape-tion reflection month. Read more on the blog or follow on Instagram @hermeout