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Catalunya’s Saint George’s Day:

Spain: Six million roses are expected to be sold on street stalls today

At least six million roses will be sold in Catalunya on Thursday this week as part of today's Saint George (Sant Jordi) celebrations.

Sant Jordi is traditionally celebrated in Catalunya by giving a book or a rose – or both – as a gift to one’s partner or spouse, although often to friends or family members as well or instead, especially in the case of single people.

For this reason, today you will see literally thousands of book stalls – new and second-hand and in several other languages besides Spanish – and flower stands set up on the streets of practically every town and city in the four provinces of Barcelona, Lleida, Girona and Tarragona.

Of the six million roses expected to be sold that day in the region, two million will come from Catalunya’s answer to Interflora, Mercabarna Flor.

A high percentage of flowers sold on Sant Jordi’s day are imported, due to the glut in other countries such as The Netherlands and a potential shortage in Spain that could be caused by so many roses, mostly red, being needed for that one date.

In the case of Mercabarna, it has to import 90% of its flowers for Sant Jordi, but this year most have come from The Netherlands rather than Colombia and Ecuador as in the past.

Four out of the 10 flowers that will be sold during Saint George’s day in Catalunya are now from either Spain or The Netherlands – the highest proportion ever, largely due to IVA on floristry having been reduced and the cost of flowers having been frozen at last year’s rates or even lower in some cases, due to an excess of supply from Dutch growers.

A slight rise in consumer spending in Catalunya, combined with the price freeze and the bank holiday for Sant Jordi falling on a weekday mean florists are optimistic of excellent sales this coming Thursday.

The typical price of a rose bought on a street stall on Sant Jordi’s day ranges from €3 to €5.
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