Sant Jordi St George's Day Chemistry

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April 23 is Saint George’s Day, celebrated in particular by a number of countries and cities where Saint George is the patron saint. One of these is, of course, England, though here the celebrations tend to be quite muted and minimal, and certainly nothing in comparison to the merriment that heralds St Patrick’s Day. In Catalonia, however, it prompts a good deal more in the way of celebration, and I made this graphic for the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia to illustrate some of its facets.

Unlike in the UK, where we might have a few half-hearted parades to mark the occasion, Catalonia goes all out. Their celebrations actually have similarities with Valentine’s Day – as well as exchanging roses, lovers exchange books, which is why we focus on these two aspects in the graphic. The graphic draws on two previous Compound Interest graphics on these subjects; you can find the one on the aroma of roses here, and the one on the aroma of old books here if you wanted more information on the chemistry behind the aromas.

To give you an idea of the scale of the festivities, stalls line the streets selling roses and books, and apparently over half of Catalonia’s book sales and 40% of its sales of roses occur on April 23 alone. The phenomenon doesn’t stop in Catalonia. Its celebration of books on April 23 led to the establishment of the date as World Book Day (except in the UK). ICIQ also made bookmarks from my designs to hand out to their employees, as shown below!

Finally, since it’s a Catalan holiday we’ve been discussing, unsurprisingly this graphic is also available in Catalan:

St George's Day Graphic [SPA] Web

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Download graphic (English)

Download graphic (Catalan)

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