In Spain, 24 June is Sant Joan, a public holiday. Or rather, it is the night of 23 to 24 June, where the partying takes place. Namely the night of Saint John or “La nit de Sant Joan” in Catalan. The shortest night of the summer is celebrated. Even though it is officially on 21 June. So this is the Spanish way of celebrating the well-known midsømmar.
The history of Sant Joan
Behind (almost) every holiday is a rich history, as also behind this originally Catholic holiday. Sant Joan was born on 24 June; in the Netherlands we call him Saint John. Saint John is better known as John the Baptist. John made the way clear for Jesus. Also Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan. That is where the name John the Baptist comes from.
How you celebrate Sant Joan
On the night of 23 to 24 June, you can celebrate all over Catalunya. However, most of them take place on the beach. Here you will see people celebrating with family, friends or even strangers. Cava (or other alcoholic drinks like Vermut) is drunk here. Coca, a kind of Catalan pastry, is also part of the experience. And everywhere you hear and see fireworks. Therefore, take into account that this night can be a bit noisier than other nights. Our tip is therefore to go out and party.
Firecrackers (petardos) are inextricably linked to Sant Joan. From about a week before the real party, they are sold at special sales points. In the days leading up to Sant Joan and also during the party itself, you can hear firecrackers everywhere. Also, with Sant Joan there is a traditional correfoc, where people literally walk with fire.
24 June: Officially Sant Joan
Officially, Sant Joan is on 24 June. However, the streets are quieter than you would expect on a day off. Since most Spaniards are sleeping it off after a night of hardly any sleep. On 24 June not every shop is open, so it is a bit of a weekday Sunday.