Sant Joan Noche

Sant Joan Noche is one of the most popular events in Catalonia so you should enjoy it in the main city of the autonomous region. Every year, it happens the 23rd and 24th of June and for this event, the city is full of locals and tourists taking part in the craziness of the festivities.

Origins of this event:
This event is the fusion between Catholic and pagan tradition. Indeed, it happens the day of Saint John in the Catholic religion, only two days after the summer solstice the 21st, which is a pagan celebration where people use to believe in purification by fire. This is why Catalans call this night the “Nit del Foc” that means “Night of Fire”.

Bondfire during Sant Joan Picture courtesy of TimesOut e1560429784966 Sant Joan Noche
Bondfire during Sant Joan | Picture courtesy of TimesOut

What happens during this night?
In Barcelona, various companies organize public dances on the streets or squares with music, dances, and fireworks that everyone can enjoy. During the day of the 23rd, you will see temporary fireworks shops in the city so you will be able to buy fireworks and firecrackers to fully take part in these festivities. This part of the year is a moment for families and friends to be together and have a good time on balconies to eat and watch fireworks. In the squares of the city, you will be able to see locals in costumes in the street that make fireworks demonstrations for your viewing pleasure. The festivities occur during all night long so the 24th everyone is sleeping and the city is quiet that is very different from the night before.

Fireworks during Sant Joan in Barcelona Picture courtesy of Aspasios e1560430012982 Sant Joan Noche
Fireworks during Sant Joan in Barcelona | Picture courtesy of Aspasios

Do not worry, if you do not know where to go, Barceloneta beach is where most of the celebrations take place because every year, there are more than 60.000 people having fun there. Indeed, the area is filled with people that bring picnics to listen to music played on the beach by musicians and watch bonfire and fireworks so you will be thrilled by the intense atmosphere there. The bonfires are built with old furniture and all kind of wood and some of the bravest use to jump over them to have good fortune during the following year so will you dare to try this? 
Be careful, there are lots of people on beaches so you should get there early, around 21:00 to be able to choose the best spot possible for you. Plus, the night is cold so be sure to bring a blanket and warm clothes to be comfortable. If you do not want to be part of the craziness on Barcelona’s beaches, climb on the heights of the city and watch the fireworks from there, the spectacle is magical.

Fireworks during Sant Joan in Barcelona e1560430111919 Sant Joan Noche
Fireworks during Sant Joan in Barcelona | Picture courtesy of Happy in Spain

Traditional food:
The traditional dish of the celebration is the “Coca” that is a cake that originally was made with candied fruits and pine nut but today, there are more flavors possible for everyone’s taste. The only flavor that you always will find is the anise flavor that is the trademark of this cake. It is usually served with Cava that is a Catalan sparkling wine. But this is the only special food for this day, so most of Catalans go out in restaurants. Be sure to reserve a table in the restaurant that you like because it is possible that it will be filled with people and this will assure you to be able to eat there.

Coca for Sant Joan Picture courtesy of Barcelona Secreta e1560430191727 Sant Joan Noche
Coca for Sant Joan | Picture courtesy of Barcelona Secreta

Little tips:
The Sunday 23rd of 2019, the restaurants, bars, and shops are open but the Monday 24th is a public holiday so most of them will be closed. The metro service will be working during all the night between 23rd and 24th so do not worry about getting back home if you do not live in the center of the city.

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