It is the celebration of the summer solstice and many define it as the most magical night of the year or the night of the fire. We speak, of course, of the festival of Sant Joan, on June 23. It's a night in which the vast majority of people leaves the house, whether to go to dinner with friends or neighbours, to go to the beach to see fireworks or to light firecrackers with the youngest ones. In Barcelona you will have a lot of options which will make the shortest night of the year even shorter.
The celebration of Sant Joan has a pagan origin and is celebrated on St John's Eve. This tradition is based on the pagan celebration for the arrival of summer during which bonfires were lit in order to give strength to the sun, that began to lose power at that point, when days started being shorter until the winter solstice. There also was the belief that the fire had a purifying function for those who looked it. This festival is still celebrated today, although with variations, in different parts of Europe, and Catalonia is one of them.
The celebrations of Sant Joan start every year with the lighting of the Canigó Flame, which, according to tradition, comes down from the mountain that gives name to the flame to light all the bonfires of St John's Eve in the Catalan territory. Those responsible for sharing the flame are usually a group of hikers who begin the descent at dawn on the 23rd.
Barcelona, like many other cities, is ready to receive this flame and enjoy the Sant Joan festival with special events in each district of the city, all mentioned on the council website. Groups of neighbours organize dinners in the decorated streets of some neighbourhoods, many families come together and enjoy this special night with the children, who laugh and run while lighting their first firecrackers (always supervised by adults). Friends meet to go to any of the special concerts that can be found in the streets and squares of Barcelona and, of course, the beaches are filled with groups of people lighting bonfires and waiting for the skies of Barcelona to be filled with fireworks.
Image Moritz Barcelona
Celebrating Sant Joan with a party on a terrace in Barcelona is an option that many go for, if they are lucky enough to have one or to know someone organizing a party in it. We are happy to say that we have one in Villa Emilia and we want to invite you to come and spend St John's Eve with us.
On the night of June 23 you can come to enjoy a special barbecue in La Terrassa of Villa Emilia and we will also have the coca de Sant Joan, a typical dessert similar to a cake that Catalan people eat on this day. In this case, we will bring it from the Forn Sant Josep in Barcelona, an artisan bakery well known in the city for the high quality of its products. In addition, we will provide champagne to welcome the summer.
The best of all is that celebrating this festival in a Barcelona terrace keeps you away from firecrackers while having a privileged view of the sky of the city, to see all the fireworks of the night of Sant Joan.
Header image Ian Schneider
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Enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, or other beverage with some pastries mid-afternoon.