Sant Joan at Barcelona, night of Saint John's bonfires
Summer is the hottest season of the year and in some countries, they make it much hotter like Spain.
If you are in my country in june, don’t miss the traditional summer celebration performed in many cities/towns called “San Juan” or “noche de fuego” (fire night) which is the day 24.
This Saint John party is to celebrate the summer solstice which consists of a night of bonfires and fireworks and spanish people consider it as the shortest night of the year, since the party will not end before dawn - although the real shortest day of the year is the 21.
If you are at my city (Barcelona) and you want to
participate, you need to be at the beach the day 23 at night time because the Sant Joan party (also known as “nit del foc” – fire night) is celebrated from the night of 23 to the morning of 24. You don’t need to go to the beach if you don’t like it since people also celebrate it in all squares, places and streets of the city but the beach is the most crowded place.
Just keep in mind that if you want to melt with a lot of citizens, in a city/town with sea, go to the beach, otherwise go to the main square.
So what you can do during this night, well throw a lot of fireworks and create bonfires always in place where there are nothing easily flammable. According to the tradition, the solstice indicates a change and the bonfires are the way to burn the winter and/or old things as a ritual of purification to welcome the summer.
Its purpose is to give more strength to the sun because from this day, it is becoming weaker due to the fact that
days are becoming shorter until the winter solstice. Like I told you above, the barceloneta beach is very crowded, full of people looking for a lot of fun and some of them will enjoy doing a barbecue with bonfires, to swim on the sea in spite that the water is cold… and like you can guess, in the morning of the day 24, the beach is very dirty, full of trashes !!! But don’t worry, a group of cleaners will be dispatched to put the beach in its normal state before 9h-10h.
In some cities/towns, you have to jump over the bonfire as ritual of purification or walk on a fire coal path for instance.
For me the best celebration where you can enjoy it, it is at Alicante because they make it more than simple bonfires and fireworks and declared as International Tourist Interest. The particularity is its artistic monuments made of woods and cardboards which represent satirical scene of important people like president, politic people, famous singers...
The announcement of the celebration opening is made the day 19 and the exhibition of those monuments are made the day 20
The night of the day 24, they will put on fire to create bonfires and controlled by firemen.
During this period, the town organizes acts, parades, concerts, bullfights, sports championships… including a competition of beauty to elect its queen of fire beauty – in an other word, you won’t have time to get bored.
Anyway, in any place, you will enjoy a great party and memorable celebration of the summer solstice if you are in Spain on june, 23rd through 24th but before to close this topic, let’s go back a moment in Barcelona. Eat the traditional Saint John's cake called coca de Sant Joan and in different main squares of the city, there will have a bonfire, in different streets, there will have concerts and in different areas, you can buy fireworks and at 21h, there will have a big firework show. For more information, check its official website (no english).