The Night of San Juan is a Christian festival of pagan origin in which bonfires are lit and fireworks and firecrackers are launched. Although it is celebrated on the night of June 23-24, it is associated with the summer solstice (June 21) and pagan rites that, with bonfires, sought to increase the strength of the sun on its way to the winter solstice. The fire, in turn, fulfilled a purifying function in the people who contemplated it. If you see a bonfire, stand and look at it.
Nowadays, we talk more about St. John's Eve than St. John's Night because the protagonist is the party. It is not celebrated a verbena, many are held in public or private premises, in private homes, in the streets and on the beaches of Barcelona. Days before June 23, the first firecrackers are already heard: they are mainly from children and young people who can not wait for the night of June 23. And it is that in the festival of San Juan are the locals who buy their firecrackers and fireworks, and launch them throughout the night.
The bonfires are built by neighbors or neighborhood organizations that look for or bring old furniture to burn. You will find bonfires in many squares of the city and on the beaches, and if you dare to buy firecrackers or fireworks you will find stalls in many places in Barcelona.
And to finish, we do it with a good bite of coca de San Juan and a glass of cava, the typical food and drink of the shortest night (or almost) of the year.
The Flame of Canigó
From June 22 to 23 a ritual related to the bonfires of the Night of San Juan is celebrated, although its origin and evolution had, and has to do with the desire to keep alive the Catalan culture. The fire of the Flama del Canigó is never extinguished; it remains in the Castellet of Perpignan until June 22nd when it is moved to the summit of Canigó. At midnight, the fire is distributed among a chain of volunteers who will take it to the Catalan-speaking towns, where it is traditional to light bonfires on St. John's Eve. Each town organizes the reception of the Flame in its own way, but part of the ritual is shared: before lighting the bonfires, a common message is read to remember the meaning of the initiative. In Barcelona the fire of the Flama arrives at the Plaza de Sant Jaume and from there it is distributed to the neighborhoods of Barcelona to light all the bonfires of the city.
Program of the Flame
- 5:00 pm. Departure of the Flame from Camp Nou to Sant Jaume square. Route: Arístides Maillol street, Riera Blanca, Creu Coberta, Espanya square, Gran Via, Universitat square, Pelai street, la Rambla, Passeig de Colom, Via Laietana and Jaume I street.
- 5:45 pm. Welcoming party of the Flame in Sant Jaume square, with the participation of the Àliga, the Capgrossos Macers and the Gegants de la Ciutat, while the music of the cobla Sant Jordi - Ciutat de Barcelona plays.
- 6:00 pm. Arrival of the Flame of Canigó to Sant Jaume square and lighting of the cauldron. Pillar of honor of the Castellers of Barcelona.
- 6:05 pm. Dances of the Eagle, the Capgrossos Macers and the Giants of the City.
- 6:15 pm. Reading of the message of this year's Flame.
- 6:45 pm. Distribution of the Flame fire that will be used to light the bonfires all over Barcelona.
Midsummer's Eve celebrations with bonfires in the center of Barcelona (2023)
This year there will be bonfires and Midsummer's Eve celebrations in more than 30 venues in the districts of Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Sants - Montjuïc, Gràcia, Sarrià - Sant Gervasi, Horta Guinardó, Sant Andreu, Les Corts, Sant Martí and Nou Barris. In addition to the festivals and bonfires, some districts organize other activities such as parades, correfocs, concerts, workshops of "cocas de San Juan" and "ratafías", singing of "havaneras" or raffles of "cocas" and "cavas".
San Juan in Ciutat Vella
Verbena in the Raval
- Place: Rambla del Raval
- From 19:00 h
- Lighting of the bonfire: 22:00 h
Verbena in Barceloneta
- Place: Poeta Boscà square
- From 20:30 h
- Lighting of the bonfire: 21:00 h
- Correfoc: 21:30 h (from Plaça del Poeta Boscà to Plaça de la Barceloneta).
San Juan in the Eixample
Verbena in Sant Antoni
- Venue: Viladomat street, between Floridablanca and Tamarit streets.
- From 20:00 h
- Correfoc: 20:30 h
- Lighting of the bonfire: 23:00 h (in Avenida Mistral, between Floridablanca and Entença streets)
Verbena in L'Esquerra del Eixample
- Place: Cerdenya street, between Consell de Cent and Diputació streets.
- From 5:30 pm
- Bonfire lighting: 22:00 h (Provença street with Rocafort)
Verbena in Fort Pienc
- Place: Lepant and Ausiàs Marc streets
- From 21:00 h
- Lighting of the bonfire: 22:00 h
San Juan in Les Corts
- Place: Europa street between Gandesa and Galileo streets
- From 18:00 h
- Bonfire lighting: 21:15 h (Provença street with Rocafort)
San Juan in Gràcia
- Place: Virreina square
- Between 18:00 and 3:00 h: popular dinner, bonfire and concert (they have not specified the time of lighting the bonfire).
San Juan on the beaches of Barcelona
The beaches of the city are a very popular destination for the inhabitants of Barcelona to celebrate San Juan. Last year approximately 60,000 people attended. If you decide to spend San Juan by the coast of Barcelona, keep in mind that you can stay there until 5 am, when the eviction begins.
Remember that the metro will run all night.