Monday, June 25, 2012

San Juan / Midsummer / Summer Solstice in Barcelona

La verbena de San Juan really is a big party here in Barcelona.

I was fascinated by the way the bonfires are lit all over Catalunya, I think it is so nice that people carry the flame from the mountain top of Canigó in the Pyrenees all the way down to Plaza de Sant Jaume in Barcelona. I was there to see the flame arriving, and it arrived with an eagle and two gegants – giants... 

The 'gegants' is a big thing in Catalan fiestas, but I am not quite sure what the point is, or the deeper meaning if there is one. (Do you?) I have seen them on a few occasions, and they are huge figures representing kings, queens and noble persons.

When they arrived the Plaza, there were fireworks, and lots of people let go of their baloons! Fun!

Then two people came forward with the flame carried from Canigó,

There were speaches and honestly I got a bit bored with this. I only understood a couple words, but it was all in Catalan (a language I thus far can’t say I know very well). I just understood that they were speaking quite a lot about Catalan pride. 

Then, the flame was carried out to light the different bonfires all over the city. There were 12 official big bonfires around the city…

...but also smaller ones here and there. I saw people jumping over the small bonfires, and I learned that this is a symbol of cleansing and purification. You jump over the fire three times and your sins are burned away!

Another tradition is to burn your school notes in the bonfires, as a way to detach from the last schoolyear. These adorable kids were just burning whatever they found around! 

There were several "revettles de Sant Joan", around the city, where you could get something to drink and a piece of Coca de Sant Joan. Like here, outside La Sagrada Familia. Nice!

All night long, there were fireworks and petardos (firecrackers?)I love fireworks, but I can’t say the same for the petardos. Too much banging constantly, and too many kids and teenagers playing around with them without much control. Cheeky teenagers throwing petardos after girls / random people etc. I guess I am very 'Norwegian' on this, and not as laid back as they are here in Spain...

Oh well! It was interesting to see how San Juan is celebrated here! I'll leave you with a last picture of the bonfire in front of Sagrada Familia. 

Did you celebrate San Juan / Midsummer / Summer Solstice? And if you did, please tell me how! 


  1. That is so neat! I love how vibrant the culture seems to be. It looks like you could never get bored! :-)

    1. You said it so well! There is always stuff happening here, and it's so fun to take part of it :)

  2. Stay for one year and I promise you to come and celebrate midsummer in Barca!!!

  3. Replies
    1. Yeah I am pretty happy with all the fun stuff going on here! :)