San Juan Festival in Spain

With the arrival of warm summer days, between June 23 and 24, Spain is immersed in the atmosphere of the main seasonal celebration - the night dedicated to San Juan. This holiday, filled with unique national traditions, resembles in its essence the Slavic holiday of Ivan Kupala, which is also celebrated on June 24. In Catalonia, this event is called the Night of the Fires or Verbena Sant Joan and is especially popular among the inhabitants, celebrated on a grand scale.


The origins of the celebration of the Night of San Juan go back to ancient times, to pre-Christian times, and are associated with the culmination of summer, when the solstice occurs. It is believed that the night of June 23-24 is the shortest of the year, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness. The iconic elements of the celebration are fire, light, sun and water. In the fire of traditional bonfires lit on this night, all the negative that has accumulated over the past year is symbolically burned. Legends say that the custom of lighting fires originated from the ancient cult of sun worship, as well as the belief in the healing power of fire, which can ward off diseases and evil spirits.


As soon as the evening of June 23 comes, the streets of cities are filled with fires of unnecessary furniture and things that ignite at dusk. After the bonfires burn out, festive festivities begin, which do not subside until dawn. Residents gather in the districts to enjoy a feast in the open air with friends and family. The streets are decorated with festive tables, and concerts with live music and dancing unfold in the squares. In Catalonia, in honor of the Night of Sant Joan, the traditional coca cake is served, which, with its rounded shape, resembles the sun and can be both sweet and savory, ranging from dessert to pizza-like. The main drink at the festival is champagne, known in Catalonia as "cava". In addition, enchanting fire shows and fireworks are arranged.


Water and herbs play an important role in festive rituals. According to legend, on this night, the water acquires special healing and magical properties, so bathing becomes an integral part of the celebration. Verbena, according to local beliefs, also acquires healing qualities and can heal anyone who touches it. Residents are sure that real miracles happen on this enchanted night: herbs and water become healing, fire banishes evil, girls find their chosen ones, and an atmosphere of love is in the air.