As the forecasts had said, this year's Sant Jordi has broken the records that stood up till now and has been a great success. The festival of books and roses, which this year fell on a Sunday, had all the ingredients of a great year: a sunny day, coinciding with a public holiday and with two sporting events to promote mobility: the football match at the Camp Nou between Barça and Atlético de Madrid, and the tennis final of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell-Trofeu Comte de Godó between Carlos Alcaraz from Murcia - although trained at the Reial Club de Tennis Barcelona - and the Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas, with both sporting contests resolved in favour of the first-mentioned competitors.
There was even icing on the cake provided by a gesture that expresses the cultural nature of the Sant Jordi celebration and stands up for Catalan, at an extremely difficult time for the country's own language. The agreement between Barça and Òmnium Cultural brought to the Camp Nou a huge mosaic based on the slogan Comparteix el català - "Share Catalan" - also including the four bars of the senyera flag - that was formed at the start of the match, while the anthem of Futbol Club Barcelona was playing. With the television audience figures, it is estimated that this would have been seen by around 150 million viewers. Barça and Òmnium thus claim that they are more than a club and also more than an association, by defending the Catalan language in sport and giving it global visibility.
The sales figures for roses and books shown once again showed the vitality of a day with the streets full of people and with, for one day at least, an exquisite political rivalry on display with the entire parliamentary spectrum trying to win votes for the municipal elections on May 28th and activist groups of different ideologies spread across a few streets around the Rambla de Catalunya. The book sector body Cambra del Llibre declared, late on Sunday night, that Sant Jordi 2023 has been the best edition in history, and that sales are up by 5% compared to the previous best year. The Catalan florists' guild, for its part, estimates that around 6 million roses were sold.
One last detail: the undeniable success of the Diada de Sant Jordi, a day of festivity and enjoyment par excellence in which we Catalans go out to buy books as if we couldn't do so for the rest of the year, covers up for a few hours the exceptional status that the country that still lives under, with those in exile and those targeted by political reprisals. The former have not been able to celebrate Sant Jordi as they previously did and the latter have legal cases underway or pending. This country is also real, and it won't find its normalcy until all of this is a thing of the past.