Mercabarna-flor anticipates rose sales leading up to Catalonia’s San Jordi celebrations to be 20% more than last year

San Jordi falling on a Tuesday means no long weekends, no holiday travel and more people giving their loved ones roses – helping push rose sales leading up to the holiday beyond an expected seven million stems this year, according to Barcelona’s major wholesale flower market Mercabarna-flor.

The inhabitants of Spain’s autonomous region, Catalonia, are getting ready for their most important floral holiday of the year, La Diada de Sant Jordi, which will be held on 23 April.

True to tradition, this year’s celebrations will provide a significant opportunity for business with an anticipated 20% increase in rose sales and a broader range of available roses.

The Catalonian hearts-and-flowers celebration of Sant Jordi will fall on a Tuesday this year. No bridge weekend means more people at home and work to give each other roses.

A week before the holiday, Mercabarna-flor provided a ‘state of the trading’ address during a meeting with the press in San Boi de Llobregat, near Barcelona.

According to Mercabarna-flor, the floral division of the gargantuan Mercabarna wholesale market, the outlook is literally rosy, predicting some seven million roses to be sold across the region in celebration of Sant Jordi (also known as Saint George’s Day), up 20 per cent from last year.

The president of Mercabarna and Barcelona’s councillor for Trade, Markets, Tourism and Finance, Mr Jordi Valls, and Miquel Batlle, president of Mercabarna-flor’s wholesale organisation, predicted that this year’s San Jordi rose sales will be ‘massive’.

Contrary to Valentine’s Day, which is globally celebrated, San Jordi is celebrated in Catalonia only. The result is a much better balance between supply and demand, with roses exchanging hands for an average €4 per stem.

Of the total number of roses sold in Catalonia, Mercabarna-flor wholesalers will sell a third (2,300,000 roses). Up to 63 per cent of roses at Mercabarna originate from Colombia, 15 per cent from Ecuador, 20 per cent from the Netherlands and two per cent from Spain, with Valencia being the nation’s last epicentre of rose growing.

Mercabarna-flor’s rose portfolio includes nearly 30 different red rose varieties. However, the red ‘Freedom’ rose grown in Colombia and Ecuador—accounting for 75 per cent of rose sales—and the Dutch-grown ‘Red Naomi’ rose —accounting for 15 per cent of rose sales—continue to be the leading protagonists in Catalonia’s Sant Jordi celebrations.

With an 80 per cent market share, red continues to be the colour of choice for Sant Jordi, but there is also room for different hues. There is strong demand across all rose categories. Miniature roses and rose kokedama, in particular, are on trend. Rose kokedama are decorative moss balls featuring mini roses.

La Diada de Sant Jordi, on 23 April, celebrates Saint George, or Sant Jordi in Catalan. Sant Jordi was a romantic and chivalrous man. He is also the patron saint of the six million inhabitants of Catalonia.

Known as ‘The Day of Lovers’, La Diada de Sant Jordi is often compared to Valentine’s Day, with some uniquely Latin twist. The main event is exchanging gifts between lovers; men give their ‘novias’ roses while women give their ‘novios’ a book to celebrate the occasion. Roses have been associated with this day since medieval times.

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