The arrival of the summer solstice is celebrated throughout Spain with ancient rites and traditions. The night of Sant Joan or the Night of Fires falls on June 23rd, the shortest night of the year.
Even though Spain is a diverse country, all the regions share something in common on this occasion: fire.
Traditionally on this night, people burnt all the wooden objects they accumulated during the whole year as a symbolic way of destroying all things obsolete. However, the concept also has a metaphorical application: Sant Joan is the time for doing away what it’s not longer good in your life such as negative thoughts and emotions. It also has a religious interpretation – fire as a way of cleaning the sky of evil spirits for the coming year.
For the celebrations, people meet at home, in the street or on the beach, and spend the night around a bonfire. In many neighbourhoods residents close whole streets putting out tables to have dinner under the stars.
Sant Joan would not be complete without loads of firecrackers!
And, of course, we have a gastronomy tip for this special night! The typical food of Sant Joan is the “coca”, a pastry that can be either savoury or sweet.
There are all types of sweet “cocas”: with fruits, filled with cream and even one that was the typical food of the poorest people, prepared with lard.
If you are looking for a special and magical night, this is the perfect date and place!
Images by Ethan Hoover, Henry Perk, Alexander Kagan. Unsplash.
Coca image by Turris.
Featured image by: Tim Zankert. Unsplash