Sant Joan is the celebration of the longest night of the year. The night of Sant Joan takes place during the night from June 23rd to June 24th. Don’t worry about staying up and partying all night: June 24th is an official holiday, so you’ll have plenty of time to rest!
The “Nit de Sant Joan”, also called “la revetlla de Sant Joan” or “Nit de Foc”, is an old pagan tradition and is celebrated all over Europe with different traditions. In Barcelona, this night can be summarised in following three words: fire, water and herbs. All have healing powers.
The flame of Canigó is an eternal flame that started in the French Pyrenees in 1955. Every year, hundreds of volunteers spread the fire over all Catalonian regions in France and Spain and set fires everywhere. This flame will arrive in Barcelona at 19.30 at Plaça Sant Jaume. When all fires are lit, the flame is kept in a museum.
The proverb says that “he who lights the fire on Sant Joan will not burn all year” (“Qui encén foc per Sant Joan no es crema en tot l’any” in Catalan). Many people burn their old furniture in the fireplaces all over the city. However, the biggest fires will be found at the beach, where thousands of people come together to celebrate this special night! The fire is the symbol of purity and fertility. Burning your (old) things will rince all your sins. Another tradition for lovers is to jump over the fire seven times if they want to stay together forever, although this is not recommended as many people tend to get drunk during the night.
The second important element of this celebration is water and the proverb now says that “bathing on Sant Joan will keep you healthy all year round” (“Bany de Sant Joan, salut per tot l’any” in Catalan). Many people have their first swim in the sea during this night. Bathing on this day will also make disappear all your sins.
The herbs thyme, rosemary and verbena are said to multiply their healing powers during this night and are widely used in all dinners and meals. As dessert, the tradition is to eat the “coca de Sant Joan”, a pastry with pineapples and confited fruit.
One thing is sure: you won’t be bored during this night. Just get out and join the party. There will be a firework organised by the city at 21h at Plaça Sant Jaume, but you will find and hear little “petardos” all night long. This night lights up the whole city and brings family and friends together for a wonderful night!
If you would like to visit Barcelona during this celebration, check out our available apartments at www.barcelona4seasons.com