If you’re in Barcelona during June, you might have noticed little stalls have popped up over the city selling fireworks, or cheeky children setting off firecrackers in the street. This is a signal that one of Catalonia’s most magical nights is getting closer. So let’s find out what the festival of Sant Joan is all about …
Saint John’s is for Catalans a festivity to celebrate the summer solstice. During the eve of St. John on the 23rd of June, the shortest night of the year, families and friends gather together; make bonfires, have dinner together and throw fireworks.
No one is really certain where this tradition comes from, but it has definitely got a pageant origin. The typical food to eat during this night is the coca de Sant Joan, a kind of cake based on lard and eggs decorated with different kinds of fruit.
Around Catalonia there are various traditions. Apart from families around the country eating together, there are traditions that vary from one village to the other. Whilst in the Pyrinees people run down mountains carrying lit up logs, the capital of Catalonia has different outdoor parties around the city organized by the district or neighbours, often with live music and dances.
In Barcelona it is also traditional to go to the beach to watch the fireworks and have a picnic by the sea. As this is a popular activity, if you want to go, take a seat before dark to get a good spot as it does get pretty crowded.
Bear in mind the 24th is a public holiday in Catalonia, so most shops will be closed.
As we’ve said above, if you’re heading for the beach, go there in time, it gets pretty crowded. Take care of your belongings and stay at a distance from fireworks. Also, if you are planning to spend tho whole night there, take into account that it is cleaned at dawn for the early birds.
If you’re buying fireworks, make sure they’re legal and if you’re buying them for children, make sure they’re suitable for their age.
Sant Joan is a night that is known for a lot of firework-related accidents, so follow all the instructions and stay safe!
Hope you found this post useful and you enjoy Sant Joan!