St Johns Eve (Sant Joan)
Midsummer in Barcelona is celebrated with a big bang as fireworks colour the sky in a festive prelude to the national holiday of the Feast of John the Baptist. Ancient traditions observed the summer solstice as the most important event of the solar year and fire was celebrated as the symbol of abundance, purity and fertility. So too today, the solstice festivities have fire as their central focus. Each neighbourhood stages fireworks and all-night bonfires are fuelled by collections of old furniture, but the biggest celebration is at Montjuic, which hosts a fabulous fireworks display and a colossal bonfire, and this is one of the best places for tourists to gather. There are dances and celebrations in the squares, street parties, music and entertainment throughout the city, and in all the homes traditional cake or 'coca' is eaten and sparkling wine is drunk. It is one of the most important festivals for Catalans and the fact that the next day, the Feast of John the Baptist, is a public holiday makes the celebrations all the more unrestrained. The celebration is commonly called 'Night of Fire' (Nit del Foc) by locals, and is celebrated by people of all ages and classes.
Date: 23 June 2014