Come to Barcelona on the eve of the 23rd June and you won’t be able to miss the spectacular celebrations happening for the Revetlla de Sant Joan. Considered to be one of biggest holidays of the year in Barcelona, the streets come alive with people and the constant crack of fireworks spiralling overhead throughout the city.
The origin of the Revetlla de Sant Joan
Whilst the actual holiday falls on the 24th June, a bank holiday in Catalonia, the celebrations all happen the night before. This is in order to celebrate the longest day of the year – otherwise known as Summer Solstice and considered to be the start of summer. Summer Solstice has always been an important tradition dating back to ancient Pagan rituals when people believed in the spiritual importance of both fire and the sun. Here in Catalonia we combined that with the celebration of the birth of Sant Joan, meaning it is still marked by symbolic customs.
As well as fire, people believe in the special powers of water and herbs on this night. For this reason you may see people going for a midnight dip in the sea as it’s thought to keep you healthy all year round. Herbs are also thought to become more powerful in their curative features on Sant Joan, especially Thyme, Rosemary and Verbena.
A night of firecrackers and bonfires
As mentioned above, fire is believed to have an extraordinary power on this night of the year, being thought to chase away evil spirits. This means the city comes alive with loud firecrackers and bonfires going on until the early hours. In fact, each city neighbourhood creates their own bonfire in which they throw old furniture, another old tradition that is thought to bring you good luck over the year. In the days leading up to the Revetlla de Sant Joan, little firecracker stands pop up all over the city for people to buy their supplies.
Celebrate la Revetlla de Sant Joan in Barcelona
Whilst there are many celebrations happening throughout the city, the neighbourhood of Barceloneta has an especially wide array of activities. Here you will find people partying until dawn, amidst an array of live music, banging firecrackers and bright burning bonfires. Beach bars set up temporary stands for revellers to stock up on food and drink over the night, and you can also find activities around the neighbourhood. These can include anything from fireworks displays with “diables” (dancing devils) and “dracs” (dragons) to beautiful orchestras getting people in the mood for a great night. If you head down to Barceloneta beach you can be guaranteed to find plenty of things to entertain you for the night.
You can check the program of Revetlla de Sant Joan 2018 in Barceloneta here
Don’t forget to try the Coca de Sant Joan!
To mark the occasion, people eat Coca de Sant Joan, the traditional food of the celebration. A cake that can be topped with a variety of different things including candied fruit, pine nuts or crackling.
There’s no doubt about it, the Revetlla de Sant Joan is one of the most magical nights of the year to be in the city of Barcelona. If you want to make that night even more special why not check out www.bizflats.com to book yourself the perfect accommodation in Barcelona.