Discover Spain through its traditions
Spain is a land of legends, unusual tales which often mix historical fact and fiction, whose origins date way back. Get to know these stories in an original and enjoyable way, by discovering traditional Spanish culture. Giants, dragons, witches, spirits, battles, saints and magical nights... The list of legends is endless. Here are some of the best-known ones.
Many of these stories are the basis for traditions, fiestas and rituals which are, nowadays, deep-rooted in the lives of Spanish villages, towns and cities. Take note of this suggestion.
San Jorge (Saint George) and the dragon
One of the most popular legends dates from the Middle Ages, and deals with San Jorge (Saint George), patron saint of Aragón and Catalonia, and his battle with a ferocious fire-breathing dragon to set a princess free. The dragon was dealt a fatal injury and in the place where its blood spilled, a red rose bush sprang forth. This is the origin of the tradition in Catalonia whereby, each 23 April, the feast of San Jorge, men give roses to the women they love. It is a beautiful tradition that fills all corners of the region with colour and romance. Millions of roses invade the streets and houses in villages, towns and cities, making this a very special day. You could come to Barcelona, for example, an ideal setting to experience this charming tradition. The feast of San Jorge has much more to offer, however.
One option is in Montblanc, in the province of Tarragona, where there is a Medieval Week held to coincide with the saint's day. Stroll through the streets of the village with their defensive walls, where you will see ancestral standards flying and coats of arms, as well as medieval soldiers and noble knights. Take part in a big fiesta, with no shortage of medieval dinners and markets, a jongleur's competition and, of course, a representation of the fight between the brave saint and the dragon.
The Teruel Lovers
This romantic legend also dates back to the Middle Ages. Tradition has it that in the 13th century, a young woman and man from Teruel, Isabel de Segura and Diego de Marcilla, died of love after a series of misfortunes prevented them from being together forever. Their bodies lie in rest together in a mausoleum next to the church and tower of San Pedro, part of Teruel's Mudejar quarter, designated World Heritage by UNESCO. This city in Aragon looks back to the old medieval story every year. In February, the small streets and squares of the old town recreate the medieval atmosphere and thousands of, people come out onto the street, dressed up in period costume, to take part in this celebration, that brings together culture and fiesta, with no shortage of acrobats, fakirs, story-tellers, executioners, nobles and serfs. The highlight of the celebration, to be found at different points around the city, is the representation of the story of the Lovers.
These are two Spanish legends, but they are not the only ones. Soon we will tell you about some of our most historic traditions.
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