On The QT

San Juan Festival!

Hopping on the plane to Spain, I could barely contain my excitement… not just because we were setting out on an adventure, but because we were due to arrive in Spain on June 23rd… the eve of the biggest annual Spanish festival: San Juan!  This festival is to celebrate the Summer solstice – the shortest night of the year! It is a public holiday renowned for the electric atmosphere in the air and the parties that take place all over Spain!


We happen to be lucky enough to arrive in Barcelona just in time… and there was no way we could have not noticed the celebrations – the fireworks in the streets, and constant crackling noise made sure of that! The actual feast day is on June 24th, but the main celebrations all take place on the night of the 23rd!

As we walked through the streets of Barcelona, we noticed the bakeries were all selling a bread style cake called ‘Coque’. There were various types available – both sweet and savoury. The one ingredient that they all share in common is anise – giving all of the Coques a distinctive aniseed flavour. We also notices that plazas and squares throughout the city had mini festivals taking place – one square had a marching band all in traditional costume, another had food stalls where locals were enjoying traditional Spanish food and drinks, there seemed to be a party/ family gathering every corner we turned!

A few locals had told us the beach was the best spot for looking at the fireworks and celebrating the festival… and so in tyical OntheQT  style we took their advice and headed down to the beach nice and early on in the evening! Sant Joan is often described by Catalans as the ‘Nit del Foc’ – meaning the ‘Night of Fire’….. when we got closer to the beach we learnt why! There were street fires popping up all around us, fire crackers going off in every direction, families making bonfires on the beach, even teenagers making home made fire crackers… we were a little weary as we made our way down to the beach front!

There were crowds and crowds of people when we got there, couples, families, small children, the elderly… it really was a festival for everyone! Friends huddled in circles on the beach drinking wine and playing card games with blankets wrapped around them! It was such a relaxing atmosphere! We found a spot on the beach, set up our cameras and had a very enjoyable few hours watching some amazing fire work displays! It a was fantastic start to our trip and a great way to soak up Spanish culture!

Highly recommend a trip to Spain to celebrate this festival! x



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