Thursday, August 13, 2020

Sant Jordi: Calm on the street, bustle on the net

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Empty streets in an unusual Sant Jordi, with a calm and silence that contrasts with the usual frenzy of the day. Not a trace of books and roses, beyond those distributed these days by the establishments that serve at home, and even less than the agglomerations of rambling badocs in areas that are traditionally the epicenter of activity every April 23rd.

In one of those days when grays rise and that would have made florists and booksellers suffer, Girona woke up with a silence that has already become the norm since the beginning of confinement. Neither in Plaça Catalunya nor in Rambla de Girona, the nerve center of the party, it was noticeable that yesterday was Sant Jordi, because it lacked the usual stopwatch mounting and the traffic of book boxes and flower buckets to have everything ready for the more early-morning shoppers.

While the shutters of shops, bars and restaurants continued to be lowered, the most representative elements of the legend occupied balconies and windows – except in Ripoll, where the dragon went out in a carriage to walk to cheer the town – and the effervescent activity of the day moved to the net to be lived, like all these days, from home.

This is the case of the traditional continuous reading of the work of Josep Pla, which has been organized in Palafrugell for more than a decade. The last winner of the award named after the writer, Laia Aguilar, was in charge of starting the virtual chain of readers, which was closed by the Minister of Culture, Mariàngela Vilallonga, and the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, who had 200 participants who sent videos of his speech.

One of the municipalities with the most activity on the net yesterday was in La Bisbal d’Empordà. In addition to the concerts of Miquel Abras and Mazoni and a virtual guided tour, also yesterday awarded the third Empordà Novel Prize, to which some thirty originals have been presented and which has fallen to the journalist Josep Maria Hernández Ripoll for The death of King Gaspart.

The events scheduled throughout the demarcation also involved children, such as the proposal of the Girona Art Museum to look for and paint the dragons represented in its collection; a reading of stories organized by the libraries of Girona or Salt, which suggested that children take photos giving roses to their favorite fictional characters. In Tossa de Mar the city council enabled a Facebook page to share actions, such as a dance from the balconies in collaboration with the Local Police; while in Caldes de Malavella, they proposed to the neighbors a menu with dishes prepared during El Gust de la Paraula, the festival that combines literature and gastronomy.

In Roses they organized the Sant Jordi Confinat festival, with about twenty artists who recorded their creations to spread them on the net; while twenty readers of the Provincial Council libraries enjoyed an individual virtual meeting with the writer Jordi Lara, who improvised a handwritten portrait of each one.

Telematic meetings with authors was another of the unpublished prints of the day; and also the Dalí Foundation joined the virtual celebration of the day, vindicating the literary facet of the Empordà painter or sending love postcards to symbolically skip the quarantine in the most surreal St. George’s Day of all.

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