The night of San Joan by far is one of my favorite nights in Barcelona. (slightly beaten by La Diada de Sant Jordi) … but it is yet another tradition that makes Spain so incredibly special.
One thing I loved about living in Spain is that there seemed as if there was always something to celebrate… some sort of holiday, festival or celebration. It makes the amazing country of Spain, even greater.
San Joan is technically the 24th of June… but it seems as the only thing people do on the 24th is recover from the night before. All of the celebrating is done the night of the 23rd, from sundown to sunrise. It is so incredibly exhausting but amazing all the same.
Each region of Spain has a different twist on how they celebrate this holiday, however they all incorporate bonfires, good food and drink, and great friends/family. Basically, it is as good a reason as any to party. It is a memorable, almost surreal scene and one that really is something to be experienced.
San Joan is a magical night that welcomes the start of the summer season. The celebration takes place during the shortest night of the year; the summer solstice. It is a celebration that is usually held on the beach with roaring bonfires, drinks, food and friends. Legends, tradition and magical rituals are connected by a common element: fire and water.
The idea is that on the night of Sant Joan the sun reaches its highest point, before beginning to drop. The sun is seen as a symbol of fertility and wealth and so it must be given strength. The strength is provided by bonfires and fireworks lit throughout the city for Sant Joan.
Tons of fireworks, people cheering and dancing, drinking … it’s all there and a lot of it. You can see people of all ages, from young to old, dancing, celebrating, setting of fireworks and just so happy all night long. It seemed as every corner of Barcelona was filled with people, celebrating, laughing, dancing, partying.
It’s like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, but even more to fit the Spanish lifestyle, even crazier.
To Catalans this night is known as “Nit del Foc” which literally translates to night of fire, explaining the large amounts of fireworks that last all through the night.
The most popular place in Barcelona to be is at the beach in Barceloneta; families and friends are camped out there with food and drinks galore, bars are blasting music, and, of course, there are bonfires and fireworks everywhere.
So of course, that’s where I spent this night surrounded by friends. We were there for more than 7 hours, and wow was it incredible. All night, non-stop there were fireworks everywhere. It was exhilarating, (a bit scary) but most of all incredible. There were djs spread out all over the beach and everyone was happy, dancing and just enjoying life.
Definitely this is one of my top memories of Barcelona. There was so much positive energy and happiness in the air. It was absolutely incredible. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed myself celebrating la noche de San Joan.