San Joan 2020 will be held on the night of Tuesday 23rd – but this year may be different to past years. Now the the city entered into “the new normal” of its deconfinement plan, many of us are wondering how Sant Joan will be celebrated this year.
How is San Joan normally celebrated?
Dating back to Pagan traditions, Sant Joan is celebrated on the eve of the Summer Solstice, which falls on 24 June 24. This festival both marks the beginning of summer and the birth of Sant (Saint) Joan. You can discover more about one of the biggest celebrations on the Catalan calendar in our article here.
In normal years, you would find huge groups of people along the beaches of Barcelona gathered around grand bonfires and the city’s skyline decorated with exploding fireworks.However, given certain restrictions imposed this year in Barcelona due to COVID-19, the city’s mayor, Ada Calau, has announced that this year’s Sant Joan will be different from others.
So if you’re spending this Sant Joan in Barcelona, we’ve put together this article so you can celebrate San Joan safely and in line with government-issued regulations.
Will the beaches in Barcelona be open this San Joan?
Following advice from health experts, this year the city’s 10 beaches will be closed from 8 pm on 23 June. This will be the first time Sant Joan celebrations will not be permitted on the city’s sandy shores.
In Barcelona, Sant Joan has become synonymous with mass gatherings of thousands of people on the city’s beaches, therefore this measure has been implemented to prevent large crowds from forming and to ensure safety distances.
This San Joan, you should also bear in mind that beach bars and restaurants will also close at 8 pm on 23 June. The beach and beach facilities will be open to the public as of 10 am on 24 June with the usual social distancing measures and controlled capacity.
How many people can I celebrate with?
Sant Joan 2020 will be celebrated when Barcelona has entered phase 3 of its de-confinement plan. In line with government guidelines, you may celebrate with 15 and 20 friends or members of family. It is also recommended that, unlike previous years, the use of fireworks should be kept to a minimum.
Organised local festivities and events are allowed – but with social distancing regulations and capacity restrictions. Open-air events, as are typical on the eve of Sant Joan, can be attended by up to 800 people. Closed events that will take place inside this San Joan can be attended by 80 people.
We advise you to check with your local neighbourhood civic centre regarding any celebrations that might be held.
Are bonfires allowed this Sant Joan?
As we have mentioned, this Sant Joan will not see the traditional celebrations along the city’s 10 beaches. The city council has also decided to not allow large bonfires.
Small fires are allowed provided that they are no bigger than one metre squared and are duly protected, e.g. on a brick surface or brazier. Permission must be requested to have a bonfire.
Can I still buy fireworks?
This Sant Joan, fireworks will be sold as in past years. There are 117 sale points around the city where you can buy fireworks, always in line with social distancing regulations.
The Barcelona municipal police force, known as the Guàrdia Urbana (Urban Guard) will deploy additional forces to prevent large crowds, to reinforce social distancing, and to control alcohol consumption.
What are some alternative Sant Joan plans?
This year, why not celebrate a safe Sant Joan among friends and family. If you’re looking for an alternative plan, our Barcelona apartments boast locations with privileged views of the city and are perfect for gazing in awe at the colourful fireworks over the city.
Why not try your hand at baking a Coca de Sant Joan? This sweetbread topped with candied fruit and pine nuts is traditionally enjoyed as a Sant Joan treat and can be bought from many a bakery leading up to the celebrations. Read more about it in our article here.
There will also be virtual DJ sessions broadcast by the Casa Groga, Teixonera and Carmel civic centres on their YouTube channel for those of us who will party to dawn but from home.
We hope you enjoy this slightly different Sant Joan and, above all, stay safe!