Nit de Sant Joan (Saint John’s Eve) in Barcelona is one of those experiences you should have once in your life.

Fire, music, dance, coca … No, it’s not a party organized by a rock star. It’s the shortest and most magic Night of the year. The one that welcomes Summer by shining the Mediterranean coast with orange tones. Whether you’re living in Barcelona or in a quick trip, you must highlight June 23rd because living a ‘Nit de Sant Joan’ (Saint John’s Eve) in Barcelona (and the rest of Catalonia) can become one of your best memories.

Celebrating Summer solstice is a tradition of pagan origins that takes place all over the world. The first evidences of the celebration of  Nit de Sant Joan in Barcelona date from the Middle Ages (specifically the XV Century) so it has religious origins: remember the birth of Saint John the Baptist. The tradition has hardly changed six centuries later: fire, night baths on the beach and parties in the street are still the main elements of this festival. If you want to know how getting the most of this day, write this down:

Canigou Flame

Every June 22nd, a group of hikers from Perpignan take the fire that is lit in Castellet to light a fire on top of the Canigou Mountain . At midnight, they use this flame to illuminate the Catalan lands. On 23rd morning, early risers climb this mountain to do the same with their towns or cities. At the end, the same light illuminates all Catalan-speaking peoples as a message of unity.

Canigou Flame will get to Plaça de Sant Jaume at 5:00 p.m. with a party plenty of sardanas, Giants, firecrackers and joy.

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Flama del Canigó | Ajuntament de Barcelona.
Bonfires in Ciutat Vella

The ideal way to celebrate Sant Joan is by lighting a bonfire in the beach and jumping on it. If you can’t do so, revetlles (open air dance parties)  are organized in the middle of the city. You can enjoy the festival as if you were on the coast. Music, little devils, fireworks and fresh dinners will illuminate Rambla del Raval, Gothic Quarter, Arc de Triomf or Barceloneta. If you hear firecrackers, answer the call.

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Sant Joan in Barcelona | Ajuntament de Barcelona.
Guitar masters in Santa María del Pi

Guitar Masters Festival brings together the most prestigious voices and guitarists in Spain to pay homage to Albéniz, Falla, Piazzolla, Chick Corea or Paco de Lucía partitures. It will be on June 24th and you can get tickets here.

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Maestros de la guitarra en Santa María del Pi.
Palo Alto Market Fest

On June 23-24 Palo Alto market organizes a festival full of culture, art, gastronomy and design at Port Forum (Sant Adrià). Two days of funk, electronics, handmade jewelry, vintage fashion and activities for the children of the house.

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Palo Alto Market Fest.
Coca de Sant Joan

This sweet is the main food of the party. You can cook it by yourself or buying it in a specialized bakery. The most applauded are those of Bubó, Turris, Escribà or Panes Creativos.

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Coca de Sant Joan | rcuisine.com
Traditions

A Sant Joan without some mysticism is not a Sant Joan at all. Jumping a bonfire made with furniture and old junk as many times as your age (good luck), night baths without clothes, lighting two red candles to attract love or making wishes are some of the traditions that can not miss.

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Nit de Sant Joan en La Barceloneta.
A safe verbena

From Barcelona City Council they advise to buy pyrotechnic articles in authorized establishments, not to throw them near the green areas, not to keep them in their pockets or to light bonfires in the street with permission of the district.

 

Spring is dead: long life to Summer.