It is official Summer has arrived in Catalunya. Not because Summer Solstice was on the 21st of June. But rather, because tonight is the eve of Sant Joan. Otherwise known as La Revetlla. For the past few nights, we have heard the popping of firecrackers in anticipation of the loud celebration that will fill the night air until sunrise across Catalunya.
Many people will gather on the beach to light bonfires, watch firework displays over the Mediterranean, drink cava and eat cocas. Since we will have the kids and mi suegra (mother-in-law) in tow, we will be checking out the festivities in Sant Cugat. There is a parade of the arrival of the La Flama del Canigó, which will light bonfires throughout Catalunya. And without a doubt, we get a big dose of the Catalan festival usual suspects - sardaners, bastoners, diablos and castellers. Later, we will watch the fireworks from our terrace while sipping Codorniu cava and nibbling cocas. You can read one of my older blog posts to see how we celebrated Sant Joan a few years ago.
The celebration of Sant Joan is full of symbolic meanings related to herbs, water and fire. Skinny dipping along the bonfire-lit beaches isn't just a bit of racy fun, it is healthy. On the night of Sant Joan, water is believed to have strong curative powers. "Bany de Sant Joan, salut per tot l'any" (Catalan translation: Bathe on Sant Joan and have health for the whole year.) Some may gather herbs (no, not those kind - more likely verbena, thyme, rosemary and Sant John) for treatments as their medicinal properties is believed to be 100 times stronger on this night. "Les herbes de Sant Joan tenen virtut tot l'any" (Catalan translation: The herbs of Sant Joan retain their virtues all year round.) Bonfires and firecrackers are lit to purify and cleanse oneself of misfortune. "Qui encén foc per Sant Joan no es crema en tot l'any" (Catalan translation: He who lights the fire for Sant Joan will not burn all year round.)
More Information About Sant Joan and Activities in Barcelona:
- Barcelona Sant Joan Activities (English)
- Recipes for Traditional Sant Joan Cocas
- More About Sant Joan