In 2004, Semana Santa runs from April 4-11. In Catalunya, on Palm
Sunday Padrinos give decorated and/or woven collections of ornate
Palm leaves to their Godchildren, only to be followed by the giving
of Monas elaborate chocolate creations involvng Easter Eggs or
the latest fad from the Simpsons to Harry Potter. The processions
of Holy Week can be seen in the Gothic Quarter of the city, hundreds
of people carrying Jesus and His Mother to the Cathedral, amid
the sound of drums and trumpets, but the most impressive and crowded
processions occur in the south of Spain.
By far the most beautiful holiday in Barcelona, the anniversary
of Sant Jordi (Saint George), the parton saint of Catalonya falls
on April 23. It is a day which has also been designated the Day
Of The Book, coincidentally this is the same day in which Miguel
de Cervantes -- the greatest Spanish writer -- and Shakespeare
died on the same day in 1616.
Traditionally men give their lady a rose, while women present
their men with a book. Book stalls and rose stands spring up throughout
the city. Lovers of all ages stroll around town hand in hand,
with a book or rose in the other. The 23rd is also popular for
visiting the Generalitat, to enjoy its display of red roses.