We hope everyone had a great time celebrating Sant Joan, the festival of the summer solstice, this past week and are ready to welcome summer to Barcelona! This city is so vibrant and exciting and we are so lucky we get to spend the summer working in such a fun place. Though it may just be another year for most of our members, our summer interns got to experience the Sant Joan festival for the first time and had so much fun. Demetri, Remington, and Sophie spent the night eating gelato and trying coque, sitting around bonfires talking about their trip, and watching the fireworks on the beach. Having never seen anything like this wild celebration, they walked through the streets startled by all the children throwing firecrackers, excited by the music and booming fireworks above, and in awe of the way the entire city and beyond flocks to beach to come together for this celebration. The night was electric with exciting displays and celebrations in every corner of the city. Locals, tourists, and international residents, families and young adults, grandparents and children all took to the streets to dance, eat, drink, and set off fireworks. After a long night taking part in the festival, the interns spent the next day relaxing and rejuvenating in their apartments in Bellatera since most of the city was still recovering from the celebrations.
The summer solstice is not celebrated in the United States but the interns thought it was a great way to start their favorite season of summer. The Feast of Sant Joan is a public holiday celebrating the shortest night of the year and is an especially important day in Catalunya. Most of the celebrations take place on the night of June 23rd, but the actual holiday is June 24th. On the night of the 23rd, the sun reaches its highest point before beginning to drop. Therefore it is believed that the sun, a symbol of fertility and wealth, needs the strength that is provided by the fireworks and bonfires lit throughout the city. The three symbols of the festival are fire, water, and herbs, however the most prominent rituals involve fire. In Catalunya, Sant Joan is often described as ‘Nit del Foc,’ or ‘Night of Fire.’ This festival is a fun night for everyone in Barcelona and the interns were really lucky to experience Sant Joan during their two month stay here.