Nit de Sant Joan in Barcelona, the Summer Solstice
Summer is just around the corner. In Barcelona, the beaches are already full with people diving into the Mediterranean sea. But officially the sun season will begin only on the night of June 23, the night of St. John. The shortest night of the year, but the longest party…
La Nit de Sant Joan is a public holiday renowned for the electric atmosphere in the air and the crazy parties that take place. Fires in the streets and the constant crack of fireworks will make truly engaging this event. The celebrations take place on 23 June each year but the actual feast day is on the 24 June.
The Feast of Sant Joan celebrates the start of the summer. It is the longest day of the year and what is known as the Summer Solstice in England. It is one of the most important feast days for Catalans and is celebrated throughout the city and people uses to not go to sleep until the breaking of the new sun.
There are said to be three symbols of Sant Joan – fire, water and herbs. Fire symbolises purity, and for this reason fires are lit. Water symbolises healing. Therefore, on this night, in some areas people bathe in the sea.
If you do not have a friend’s party to go to, the most common place for people to head to for Sant Joan is the beach. Barceloneta beach begins filling up during the early evening on 23 June, with groups who bring picnics and cava to watch the fireworks displays and listen to the music playing in the chiringuitos (beach bars). Groups of musicians and drummers also gather to provide the soundtrack to the evening’s events. The Feast of Sant Joan is one of the most exciting times of the year to be in Barcelona. At the start of summer, there is already a feeling of excitement in the air. Do not expect any events in particular to be taking place – simply gather up your friends, some food and drink and hit the streets to enjoy the mayhem.
If you have a restaurant in mind that you would like to eat at, it may be best to reserve a table to ensure that you will not be disappointed. As mentioned below, the day after the Feast of Sant Joan – 24 June, is a bank holiday. Therefore you may find that many of the restaurants are closed on this date. Look at the City Council webpage.
If you wish to experience the magic without being caught up in the craziness of the beach, you may wish to head into the hills and watch the city from below. You could head up to Montjuïc castle with a picnic and watch the firework displays taking place all over the city.
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