April 23, 2007

Dia internacional del libro – Festa de Sant Jordi

...pretty intellectual girls...Maybe Spain has no more festive days than any other country, but they surely make the most of each one of them.

The day´s coming was being announced weeks in advance in all metro stations and it was hard for me not to notice: a photo of a pretty, blond girl tranquilly reading a book followed me wherever I went. (Why is it anyway that the campaign´s designers chose to advertise a blond, and not, like the vast majority of Spain´s population, a dark-haired girl? I think I know the answer.) Today, all around Barcelona´s city centre as well as all over the university´s campus, book stalls sell second-hand books for 50 cents or a euro.

Wholly unplanned the International Day of the Book coincides with Sant Jordi, the Catalan equivalent of Valentine´s Day. The 14th of February is not known here. Today however, happy couples parade around with lipstick-red roses or (slightly more nationalistic) yellow roses with red edges, adorned with a little Catalan banner on the wrapper.

I realised the pretty blond model on the poster, probably without realising it herself, advertises both of today´s reasons for festivity. At least I would give her a rose if I bumped into her.

- 3 comments by 1 or more people

  1. Poor catalan boy

    Hey Maarten, please allow me to add a few remarks to you post:

    1- The International Day of Book draws its inspiration from the catalan tradition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_the_Book

    2- Majority of spaniards and, by extension southern europeans, have dark hair. However there are blondes in Spain just as there’s brunettes in The Netherlands. Would you ask yourself the same questions if you saw an ad featuring a brunette in Amsterdam? Or rather when in Barcelona you automatically regard every blonde person you come across as foreigner? I think I know the answer.

    24 Apr 2007, 12:02

  2. Haha, very sharp and true enough. Without circling around the matter any further though, from what I hear blond-haired girls are much wanted in a dark-haired country like Spain. Which kind of makes sense, as they are rarer. To be fair I need to add that Catalunya (I believe) has many more (naturally) blond girls than the rest of Spain. But to be honest, does this girl appear very Catalan or Spanish to you? Advertisers surely have a profile in mind when they look for a model, and with reason.

    24 Apr 2007, 16:23

  3. Poor catalan boy (Gerard from now on)

    Catalonia doesn’t have any more blondes than Spain really. The point here is that ethnically spanish people are far less exotic than north-europeans tend to think, but in a country with the largest gypsy population of Europe, several million latin americans and north-africans, and other minorities like the gaunches from the Canary Islands, I think it’s just about normal that foreigners are confused about our looks.

    So to put it in a different way, I would think the girl from the ad is rather posh and she’s probably well fit :-p
    But sorry, I wouldn’t think ‘oh she must be a swede!’. BTW, who told you blondes are that coveted? Was it a local?

    On a different topic, as a sociologist you may be interested in knowing that the ad you showed here comes from a well-known catalan co-op. Cooperatives, like saving banks, are one of the traditional pillars of Catalonia’s economy and make for a good case study, in my opinion.


    27 Apr 2007, 08:37

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