Catalonia / Girona

Kissing Weird Things in Girona

Girona is famous for lots of things – its extensive Jewish quarter, the cathedral’s medieval cloister, the lovely spring flower festival and the colorful houses lining the river. But one thing it doesn’t get enough credit for is all the kissing you can do there. Yep, Girona: the city where snogging gets strange. 


Kiss Your Way to a Return Trip

If only return airline tickets were so easy to get! In Girona, all you have to do to guarantee a return trip is to find the lion and kiss its bum. Here’s the official message: for the Lleona de Girona:

“Qui besa el cul de la lleona retorna a Girona” 

“Whoever kisses the lioness’s ass will return to Girona.” 

It also used to be a way to officially declare your respect and love for the city of Girona, and a fun way to recognize your status as a “gironí.”


The Lleona is in the Plaça de Sant Feliu. Jump up the specially-placed steps to get into prime bum-kissing position, and plant a kiss on it if you want a trip back to Girona. Hey, it worked for me! I’ve been back twice. 

But if you’re in Girona and don’t fancy a return trip, there’s one more thing you can kiss in exchange for something nice…

Kiss Your Way to Good Luck

Up on the steps between the Arabic baths and the cathedral is a funny statue of a chubby woman with big wings. If you get close to her looming tum, you’ll see this sign:

“Qui besa la panxa de la Majordoma té un any de via bona.” 

“Whoever kisses the Majordoma’s belly will have a year of good life.” 

Who is the Majordoma? She was a fat, smug, gossipy woman, the Majordoma came to Girona with her great nephew. Sant Narcís (Girona’s patron saint). She was a great cook and invented some classic Gironan recipes, like  oca amb peres (goose with pears), pomes farcides (stuffed apples), and  botifarra de sang (blood sausage).

The Majordoma also knew a bit of witchcraft-y stuff, so she combined her powers and came up with a new recipe that filled all the churches in Girona with cobwebs, complete with giant spiders, whenever she got angry. But losing your temper seemed to run in the family. She upset her Sant Narcís, who took away her powers and turned her into the laughingstock of the city.


She redeemed herself after having a premonition of Narcís’ death that came true. Afterwards, she decided to dedicate the rest of her life to taking care of the sick and disabled. Just before she died, she built a huge fire in front of the cathedral and cooked  mint soup to feed the poor and hungry. When she died, the Gironan people were surprised that her huge body weighed less than a sparrow.

Weird story, eh? Actually, the story of Sant Narcís is interesting too, but I’ll save that for another time. The short version of it is, kiss the Majordoma of Girona’s belly, and you’re in for a good year.

I recently gave her panza a peck, so we’ll see if it comes true (fingers crossed!)

Have you ever heard of other kissing legends? Which would you rather have – a guaranteed return trip to Girona, or a guaranteed good year? 

P.S. I will be writing about my recent trip to the Basque Country soon, but I don’t really fancy sitting inside and blog when there are beaches, rebajas (sales), and all-night summer parties to be enjoyed! I love summer.

Besos (especially for Lleonas and Majordomas)!


Sources: and


20 thoughts on “Kissing Weird Things in Girona

  1. I love all these old sayings, and traditions…but I am way too OCD to do them. At Christmas time in Sevilla I did a ‘nativity crawl’ and basically went out to see all of the ones around the city. People always go up and kiss the Virgin’s hand etc. etc. I SO wanted to, as I think its a beautiful demonstration of devotion…but I couldn’t stop thinking about how many people had probably kissed it…and that I would have to bathe in Purell afterward. :S

  2. In Ireland you must crawl out on a promontory to kiss the Blarney Stone in order to get the Irish gift of charming speech.

    In Asia there is no tradition of kissing at all – this is a western idea which until western movies made their appearance was completely unfathomable to Asians (Indian movie censors still prohibit kissing) The whole social-ethical idea of touching is very different; hand-shaking is also a western idea which is not comfortable for many Asians, though they put up with it (limply). It could indeed be a hygiene thing, as Asians historically had much more advanced ideas related to bathing and personal cleanliness than Europeans of the same period. (Queen Ellizabeth 1 of england bathed once a month whether she needed it or not!)

    • I knew about the Blarney Stone, but I didn’t know anything at all about the Asian non-kissing traditions! That’s really fascinating, and I can definitely see how it could come from a hygiene issue. Haha and the “whether she needed it or not” made me crack up!

  3. Presume most bums are riddled with germs anyway so this would make no difference. Never kissed it when I went and haven’t been back – that explains it! Loved Girona and it where M had his best ever starter – a simple baked Aubergine with cheese – just by the cathedral.

  4. Yikes about the kissing visitors indirectly. Lol Andrew.
    To answer the question, I’d kiss the behind to go back. And if it holds true, in my return, I’d definitely kiss the belly. 😉 HA!

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