By Jack Wright
Believe it or not, the Don Juan of Spain is quite cynical about the celebration of Valentine’s Day as the Day of Love and Romance. You’ll find it near impossible to convince him that the bottom line of the celebration isn’t pure commercialism and that buying a bunch of roses and heart-shaped chocolates for his Lady Love isn’t succumbing to brutal capitalist propaganda. A sure sign of weakness on the part of the Macho Iberico who should know better than to get himself inveigled by El Corte Ingles, the iconic department store without which many in Spain might not even know it was The Holiday Season or, for that matter, the Dia de los Enamorados (Day of the People In Love).
But, of course, as in everything and everywhere, there may be exceptions. The Latin Lover of Iberia, inveterate beast of romance, might allow himself to buy those roses and chocolates in a weak moment. So that in the end, you might stumble upon him yet sneaking up at the El Corte Ingles cash register and stealthily reaching into his pocket to pay for those romantic gifts.
If there’s anything that won’t make Don Juan red in the face and get his hackles up, it is buying a rose to express his love and/or appreciation for a lovely lady, and for which he gets a book in return, on the Diada de Sant Jordi. But that will be on 23 April, not 14 February. And only in Catalonia. That’s St. George’s Day, the feast day of Catalonia’s patron saint.
It is an unabashed romantic festivity – with tints of culture (those books!). Sant Jordi is also the patron saint of Catalan lovers.
And even though, like Valentine’s Day, this particular celebration is getting to be too “commercial” not to prick his conscience no matter how lightly, Don Juan will still do it. Con mucho gusto.
Featured image by Alma-81 via flickr, CC BY 2.0
Diada de Sant Jordi’s rose and book (Generalitat de Catalunya), CC BY-SA3.0