Sant Joan festival is the traditional midsummer party in Catalonia.
It is a celebration of the shortest night of the year and honor Sant Joan (St. John the Baptist). The festival takes place on the evening of 23th June each year but the actual feast day is on the 24 June. In Spain and Catalonia, the 24th of June is a public holiday that is known for its electric atmosphere in the air and the crazy parties.It is a night of Fire, Fireworks, Coca cakes and Cava, but definitely not of sleep.
Enjoy in Barcelona beach
In Catalonia Sant Joan festival is considered as one of the most important celebrations.
The Gospel of Luke states that John was born about six months before Jesus. Therefore, the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on 24 June, six months before Christmas Eve. This feast day is one of the very few saints’ days which marks the anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint being honored.The Feast of St. John closely coincides with the June solstice (the June Midsummer in the Northern hemisphere).
Fire is the most typical element associated with the Saint John’s Eve celebration.It symbolises purity and for this reason fires and bonfires are lit on the evening of 23th June for people to jump over. ¨He who lights the fire for Sant Joan will not burn all year.” Sant Joan is very much a family and friends celebration and there are no major public fireworks displays at Sant Joan in Barcelona except a small display from the roof of the town hall square Plaça de Sant Jaume around 7.30pm to welcome the ·flame of Canigò.”
Water symbolises healing and in some areas people bathe in the sea.”Bathe on Sant Joan and you’ll be healthy all year round”.According to tradition, on the eve of Sant Joan, you can clean your sins in water.This symbolises the baptisms of Sant John. The legend says that a swim will cure all your ails and pains. You can swim in the sea, or in a lake, or even just bathe your face with the morning dew and you will be free of sin and completely cured of all ills. If you are in Barcelona and go to the beach you will see a lot of people having a midnight-sin-swim. Around 70,000 people people gather on the beaches of Barcelona – mostly on Bogatell and Mar Bella.Join the huge beach parties that celebrate the Nit de Sant Joan. The water temperature of the Barcelona is around 22-23 degrees celsius in June, so it’s a pleasant experience taking an evening swim. Watching the Sant Joan sunrise is an important part of the Nit de Sant Joan and a good excuse to party all night.
The herbs symbolise remedy and some claim that for the night of Sant Joan their healing qualities are enhanced one hundred times over.It is said that “the herbs of Sant Joan retain their virtues all year round.” Thyme, Rosemary and Verbena (the herb that gave name to the fiestas!) are collected and eaten on Sant Joan. The herb verbena was offered to the Gods in ancient times. It has a very powerful smell and some say it has aphrodisiac properties.
Don´t miss these celebrations!
The most common place for people to head to for Sant Joan is the Barceloneta beach. It begins fills up during the early evening on the 23 June , with groups who bring picnics and cava to watch the fireworks displays and listen to the music playing in the beach bars(chiringuitos). Groups of musicians and drummers also gather together to provide the sound track to the evening’s events.
During the early part of the evening the local restaurants along the beach put out extra tables, chairs and decorations. The squares are also going to be packed with people who are celebrating.
It is a really exciting experience!