La Noche de San Juan (St. John's Night) - Verbenas and Bonfires

Type: 
Local fiestas

The Night of San Juan this year 2021 will not be as limited as that of 2020, but there will continue to be restrictions. Only activities that guarantee safety distances between people will be allowed and some of the activities will be with prior reservation. There will be bonfires and festivals (see section below), firecrackers and fireworks can be bought in these booths, and the Flama del Canigó flame will return to Plaça del Rei, although it can only be accessed with prior reservation.

And what will happen to the beaches of Barcelona? They will be open, although the use of alcohol will not be allowed, nor will they light bonfires, nor install tents.

What is the Night of Saint John's Night?

The night of San Juan is a Christian holiday of pagan origin with bonfires, fireworks and firecrackers. Although celebrated the night of 23rd to 24th of June, it is associated with the summer solstice (June 21) and pagan rites, with bonfires, sought to increase the power of the sun on its way to the winter solstice. The fire, in turn, was serving as a purifying function in people who watched it. If you see a fire, stop and look at it.

Today we speak of verbena de San Juan more than the night of San Juan because the protagonist is the party. It´s not just one festival , many are held in public or private premises, private homes, in the streets and on the beaches of Barcelona. Days before the June 23rd the first firecrackers are heard: these are mostly children and young people who can not wait for the night of 23rd. And in the festival of San Juan who buy their firecrackers and fireworks are the locals, and make them explode during the whole night.

The bonfires are built by neighbors with all kind of wood and old furniture. You will find fires in many squares and on the beaches, and if you decide to buy firecrackers or fireworks there are stalls in many places in Barcelona.

And finally, we celebrate it with a good bite of coca cakes de San Juan and a glass of cava, the typical food and drink in the shortest (or almost) night of the year.

The Flama (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 will to keep Catalan culture alive. The fire of the Canigó Flame never goes out; it remains in the Castellet de Perpignan until June 22 it moves to the Canigó summit. 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 the Night of San Juan. Each city and 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 Flame reaches the Plaza de Sant Jaume ((this year to the Plaza del Rei) and from there it is distributed to the neighborhoods of Barcelona to light all the bonfires in the city.

The celebrations for the arrival of the flame will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the arrival of the guests and a concert by the Cobla Sant Jordi - Ciutat de Barcelona, ​​and will end at 7:10 p.m. with the song of Els Segadors.

Advance reservation

Verbenas and bonfires (2021)

This year there will be bonfires and festivals of San Juan in the districts of Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Sants - Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarrià - Sant Gervasi, Gràcia, Horta Guinardó and Sant Andreu. At the moment none have been organized in the districts of Nou Barris and Sant Martí, but it is possible that in the next few hours one or more will appear on the list in those districts.

List of verbenas and bonfires

Remember that the metro will run all night and the FGC until 2:00 in the morning.