That Feast of Sant Joan is a big thing in Barcelona, also known to the Catalans as “Nit del Foc”, which means “Night of Fire”. The celebration takes place on the summer solstice, the shortest night of the year. This holiday is known for its electric atmosphere and crazy parties that take place here.
This is a date you cannot miss when you are in town, you will see fires in the streets and hear constant fireworks all over the city.
See also: The best tourist attractions in Barcelona
The celebrations begin June 23rd and end June 24th and take place nationwide in a variety of forms. The 23rd is known as the feast day and the day that many celebrate and the 24th is the non-working day. Everyone celebrates in their own way in Barcelona, bringing friends and family together for meals, parties, bonfires and fireworks.
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Story behind the feast of Sant Joan / nit del foc
Sant Joan is one of the most important holidays of the Catalans. The celebrations take place on the one hand to celebrate the summer solstice, but also to celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist. On the night of this celebration, the sun reaches its highest point before beginning to set. The sun is considered a symbol of fertility and wealth, so it needs to be strengthened. This power is passed on through the bonfires and fireworks, which is why they are so popular on this day. Another reason for using flames on this day is to deter and drive away evil spirits. These festivities have been around since the 18th century and continue to this day.
Traditions of Sant Joan Celebration
The night is notoriously noisy, beginning at dusk until dawn, with fireworks going on throughout the night. In different neighborhoods throughout Barcelona you can experience street parties as well as a wide range of culinary offerings. You will find a lot of music, with DJs and musicians, and you can also find interesting traditions in places like Barcelona like the fire-breathing Correfoc.
Most parties take place in the old town district (Gothic Quarter). Here you can find them Canigó flame what is enough Plaça de Sant Jaume on the afternoon of the 23rd and is received by the magistrate. Next to the old town you will find the people partying all night long Beach in Barcelonaand you can dance your way through every beach bar there!
On the beach, you’ll also find local restaurants putting up extra chairs, tables, and decorations for people to start their celebrations with a big dinner. They also often build special bars in the front to sell drinks and snacks for the partygoers when they arrive.
Also see: The best beaches in Barcelona (including the nude and gay beaches)
Apparently there should be three symbols of Sant Joan; fire, water and herbs. the fire symbolizes purity and is the reason why fires are kindled. That Water represents healinglike the night of the 23rd something People bathe in the sea. That Herbs symbolize remedieswhereby some claim that on the night of Sant Joan their healing properties are enhanced.
On the day of Sant Joan, the city is much quieter than the celebration of the previous evening. Many bars are closed, as are shops and many supermarkets, and you rarely see taxis or even people on the streets. Sant Joan’s day is known as the day of rest.
Feast for Sant Joan
A official meal of Sant Joan is the ‘Coca’ or ‘Coques’ in the plural, this is a Bread style cake You’ll see them in bakery windows across the city. You can buy both sweet and savory coques and those that contain crackling, fruit, nuts or cream. You have a distinct anise flavor which, however, is shared by all the coques.
There are no other traditional foods for Sant Joan, however traditional Many Catalans eat out for dinner on the evening of the beginning of the feast day. It’s smart reserve a table in advance to ensure you are not disappointed as it can get very busy during this celebration.
The festival of Sant Joan is one of the most exciting celebrations of the year and one not to be missed. If you are in Barcelona try to make the most of this holiday Party like a local.