In the Catalan-speaking lands and beyond, the night of June 23 is known as Saint John’s Night or the Night of Fire: Sant Joan. Different traditions take place on this date: bonfires, fireworks, dances and even running races in the woods carrying flaming logs.
There are different opinions regarding this feast’s origin: some say it is pagan, Christians say it is the day on which Saint John was born, and to others it is simply a way of celebrating the shortest night of the year since it coincides with the summer solstice. A night where few people sleep because, as is tradition, the beach is full of locals and visitors to celebrate the arrival of summer season. The groups meet with guitars around the fire and the bravest dare to jump the flames that illuminate the beach at night.
On this day, it is customary to have dinner with family or friends by a bonfire and to eat coca de Sant Joan (Saint John’s cake), made with a delicious sponge cake, candied fruit and accompanied with a glass of cava (sparkling wine) or more than one…
The beliefs relating to this night are the reason why it is called the Night of Fire, since it is said that the fire frightens the imaginary creatures appearing on this date. In Barcelona you can enjoy bonfires in different neighborhoods, and specially recommended are the fireworks taking place at Barceloneta beach, where children use firecrackers. Although this is usually the most crowded area. If instead you want something quieter we recommend you the beach Mar Bella.
If you are visiting Barcelona at this time, don’t forget to ask Barcelona Guide Bureau about the different options that we offer to discover the city, and take the opportunity to talk to our guides who will surely tell you about the curiosities of Saint John’s Night. Do you dare to jump the fire with us?