The Night of Sant Joan

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The Night of Sant Joan

Sometimes the life in Barcelona looks like one long fiesta, especially in the summer.

And another big fiesta is coming on the 23rd June. It’s Sant Joan and in Catalonia it is considered as one of the most important celebrations. Be prepared for big parties!

The feast of Sant Joan celebrates June solstice, also referred to as Midsummer in the Northern hemisphere. The Christian holy day is on the 4th of June, but in most countries the festivals are mostly held the night before, on St. John’s Eve. In Catalonia a great deal of emphasis is placed on that day!

The idea is that on the night of Sant Joan the sun reaches its highest point, before beginning to drop. The sun is seen as a symbol of wealth and so it must be given strength. And now you are going to like this part…The strength is provided by bonfires and fireworks lit throughout the city.

It is a really exciting experience!

Sant Joan tradition

Fiesta Sant Joan Barcelona

Sant Joan has three symbolic elements which are water, fire and medical herbs.

1. Water

The water is a symbol of healing and in Barcelona people bathe in the sea because it is believed that if you bathe on Sant Joan you’ll be healthy all year round. According to the tradition, by bathing on Sant Joan´s eve you can clean your sins in water. If you are in Barcelona, you should not miss the celebrations on the beach. You will see a lot of people having a midnight-sin-swim and if you want it will be fun to join them. Around 70,000 people people gather on Barcelona´s beaches. The most visited places are Bogatell and Mar Bella. Enjoy the huge beach parties that celebrate the Nit de Sant Joan (The Night of Sant Joan). The water temperature in Barcelona is around 22-23 degrees Celsius in June. Therefore, it will be an experience taking an evening swim. An important part of the night is watching the Sant Joan. It is also a good excuse to party all night!

2. Fire

The fire symbolizes purity, and for this reason fires are lit. Barcelona has a deeply rooted tradition of throwing fireworks during the night of Sant Joan. In Barcelona everyone is celebrating in their own way, meeting with neighbors, family or friends for dinner, listen music and lit bonfires.

On the afternoon of 23rd June, Canigó Flame, According to tradition called Turn ALL bonfires city, arrives in Plaça Sant Jaume, where it is received by the municipal authorities, the City of Eagle and Giant City with the song “Mountains of Canigou.”

Then the representatives of each district ignite bonfires throughout the city. With the lighting of the bonfires begin the festivities in the squares and streets of Barcelona´s neighborhoods.

Hoguera Sant Joan

3. Medical herbs

The herbs symbolize remedy and some claim that for the night of Sant Joan their healing qualities are enhanced one hundred times over. It is believed that the herbs of Sant Joan retain their virtues all year round.

Sant Joan is a celebration that the Catholic Church does coincide with the birthday of St. John the Baptist and has become a party with elements very marked and customs and symbolic: the purifying fire, midnight baths, herbs of St. John, the song, dance or magic rituals and healing.

Fuegos artificiales Sant Joan

Don´t miss this celebration! Apart from the Canigó Flame, you should also go the Barceloneta beach, which begins to fill up with people during the early evening.

People are celebrating with picnics, cava, firework displays and a lot of music and dancing in the chiringuitos (beach bars).

It’s an amazing experience! Enjoy it!


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