The festival of San Juan
San Juan Barcelona is by far one of the most anticipated nights in the calendar in the region of Catalonia. The festival takes place on 23rd June. It is also celebrated in many other cities across the world.
The lengthening of the day and the summer solstice fall almost on the same date as the birth of St John the Batiste so San Juan or Sant Joan. This is why the summer celebration is technically two days late. But this is also why people love marking it with distinct customs and traditions. There are the herbs of Sant Joan and the customary dances and songs. Especially the ultra-romantic ballad (eek!) known as the Muntanyes del Canigó or Canigou Mountain. That, and of course the purifying bonfires which rid of evil spirits all make this one of the most stunning local festivals.
The Eve of San Juan
The Revetlla de Sant Joan or the Eve of San Juan Barcelona begins with the reception of the Canigó flame. This happens at Plaça Jaume or Plaza de San Jaime in the heart of the city. Then, festival goes take it to each neighbourhood in Barcelona to light the bonfires and start the celebrations.
A week of San Juan Barcelona
In reality, San Juan Barcelona feels more like the week of Sant Joan. In the city, the noise of fire crackers and fireworks begins to build momentum throughout the week. The evening itself is normally spent with a traditional meal with family and friends. Then, you make your way to the beach front. Streets are filled with smoke and explosions so making sure you arrive in one piece is always the biggest challenge! If you are looking for some peace and quiet, it might be the perfect time to go on a cycling tour of Catalonia.
After the sun rises
A sea of fireworks and people, bonfires and music greets you for as far as the eye can see and the party is truly underway. Only when the sun has risen in the morning is it time to make your way home. Only then the mammoth clean up operation begins. But Barcelona has had many a San Juan. So, before you know it the it’s clean and nice again. And you can even ride a bike along all of Barcelona’s beaches and beyond.