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Sant Joan's Eve

Sant Joan's Eve

The Night of Sant Joan (Saint John’s Eve) is close, and we want to tell you what this awaited festivity means in the Catalan culture. Nowadays, Sant Joan’s Eve is celebrated by lighting up bonfires and fireworks.

 

But how did such a tradition originate? It is not totally clear. There are theories that give it a heathen origin, from before Christianism, and that it was celebrated to scare the bad spirits that during the night from the 23rd to the 24th of June would be most present. Some attempts were made to ban these celebrations, also during Francoism, but it did not really work out.

 

Sant Joan’s Eve is celebrated throughout all of Catalonia. That night is to share in the company of your loved ones and some of the traditions are building bonfires (it can even get competitive between neighborhoods), neighborhood or town dinners, music, performances… Moreover, in 1966 a custom was initiated to distribute the Flama del Canigó (Flame of Canigó) throughout all Catalan territory (from 1955 it was distributed around North Catalonia, a tradition born from a North-Catalan hiker); this flame, which is a symbol of the persistence of Catalan culture, the bonfires are lit when the sun sets. Afterward, when the flames are low, there are people who dare to jump above them or even walk over the embers with their feet naked.

 

Sant Joan’s Eve is also special for the gastronomy dedicated to it. The coca de Sant Joan is a must during that night, and it can be made of sponge cake and candied fruit, but can also be prepared as a coc de recapte (traditional dish of pizza-like base and usually onion and red bell pepper) or with pork rind, pinenuts and it is often paired with a glass of champagne and, why not? Some caramelized nuts from Priorat Natur. Oh! And the most important thing is to share this festivity with family and friends to start the summer with your loved ones.

 

Happy Sant Joan’s Eve!

 

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