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Everything you need to know about the Nit De Sant Joan
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Written by Natalie Barresi

Branded Content Creator

Happy summer and Festival of Fire!

As Sant Joan is one of Barcelona’s major festivals, it will be difficult to avoid the festive atmosphere, even in this post-coronavirus context. This year, celebrations will be different, as they will follow current health measures and social distance regulations, so that we can all have a safe party.

It’s also worth remembering the public holiday is not until the following day (on Wednesday) so you will find many bars and restaurants open till late offering a Sant Joan menu. Traditions, typical food, music and gatherings up to 20 peoples are the basis of Sant Joan 2020. Everything you need to know about this magical night is to be found in this post.

The rituals

Celebrated on June 23rd and 24th each year, Sant Joan is a special date in the Catalan calendar that marks the summer solstice and birthdate of Saint John the Baptist in the Christian faith.

Most of people head to the beaches, to dance around bonfires on the sand, celebrating the arrival of summer. As capital of the Catalan Countries, the Sant Joan celebrations in Barcelona are particularly funny and wild, on the shores of the Mediterranean. These year, Sant Joan is going to be on the streets, with Barcelona beaches closed for safety reasons. So the best plan is to gather with your friends for the colorful firework displays which light up the city the night of Sant Joan. Remember that a slice of the special cake known as coca de Sant Joan is essential.

The event loaded with special significance in Barcelona is the arrival of the Flama de Canigó to the city. The tradition of bringing a flame from the emblematic mountain of Canigó located in Catalunya Nord in the French Pyrenees to the Ciutadella Park is a very recent addition to the festival. The climax is when the flame arrives in Plaça de Sant Jaume between traditional dances and songs. This year, you can follow the act from home from 5 PM on Facebook Cultura Popular Barcelona. At 7.30 PM, representatives from different neighbourhoods light their own torches from the flame and then it is used to light the official bonfires throughout Barcelona.

Find your panoramic spot

Sant Joan fireworks can best be enjoyed from above, for example at Montjuïc, an strategic viewing point over the city. Simply bring your blanket and set up your own private spot: the Passeig de Miramar is home to a number of grassy banks and there are benches on the Plaça de Carlos Ibáñez.

Another highly popular place to gather is the Carmel bunkers. Located 20 minutes aways from the centre, in the Carmel neighborhood of Barcelona, this former military bunker is today a popular hangout for those looking to enjoy one of the best views without crowds. From there you can enjoy a clear 360-degree view of Barcelona.

Other option is to meet with your friends at one of the city’s many rooftop terraces. Make your booking in advance to ensure your place.

It’s a kind of magic

As Sant Joan almost coincides with the Summer Solstice (normally on 20th or 21st June), it is likely that the the origins of the festival are pagan.The exact origins of the celebration as it is known today are unclear. Bonfires on the summer solstice are typical throughout Northern Europe but it is unclear when the tradition was associated with Sant Joan in Barcelona. This date has been celebrated by cultures across the world since a time long before Christianity and continues to play an important role in local culture in countries as Sweden, where it is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. The importance of symbols like fire (it represents purity…burning something to clean your soul), water, and herbs. Mythological tales and superstitions about witches, goblins and trolls that are likely to appear in Sant Joan.

Coca de Sant Joan

Another important element of the celebration is a special cake called coca de Sant Joan. This large, flat pastry is usually made of candied fruits, marzipan or cream. You can buy it at your local bakery and be sure to have it with a glass of cava, a delicious Catalan sparkling wine.

You can imagine that it is a great deal of flavours.✨The night of June 23 is magical.

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