Sant Joan’s Festival

June 15, 2011 by

Festivals & Events

Fiery celebrations at the Sant Juan Festival - photo courtesy of Castila via WordPress

Celebrate Sant Joan Festival in Barcelona on the midsummer night solstice with fireworks, concerts and dancing. The following day is a public holiday so you can dance all night!

Fire is the most important element of the traditional festivities, lit by the flame of Canigò, which comes from the peak of a holy mountain of the same name in the Pyrenees. Since 1955 this flame is kept alive in the kitchen of the museum Casa Pairal to represents the strength of Catalan culture  and is used to light the flame on the peak of the Canigò and throughout the region. If you burn something in the Sant Joan fire it will apparently purify your sins and bring you good luck.

Catalonians take old furniture out to be burned on the bonfires, as a purification ritual to cleanse the past and in order to jump over the fire while making wishes for the next year. Traditional fire rituals are to write down your wishes and throw the note on the fire, then leap into the air three times. You can also hold hands with your lover and jump together over the fire seven times, to ensure a happy ending…

The open air celebrations (Verbenas) last until sunrise, and the festival of the Night of Sant Joan (Noche de Sant Joan) could find you partying in a club or on the beach with thousands of people.

Water is another important element of the celebration, “Bathe on Sant Joan and you’ll be healthy all year round” as the saying goes. If leaping over the flames isn’t your thing, you can also douse yourself in water to clean away your sins – jump into the nearest lake, sea or even a bathtub or the morning dew – all water is said to be equally effective. “Don’t burn your sins, drown them”.

Earth is the final element in this ancient pagan festival, which can be celebrated by gathering herbs (rosemary, thyme and verbena in particular) said to be particularly effective with healing powers. Finally, the Catalan ‘Coca’ dessert is a bread topped with delicious fillings. Combined, the events of the night will leave you feeling exhilarated and revitalized.

-Jodi Rose

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One Response to “Sant Joan’s Festival”

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