Bonfires and fireworks for the shortest night of the year
Throughout history, people of all cultures have celebrated the summer solstice, especially in countries around the Mediterranean. The Christian tradition later associated this festivity with the figure of Saint John the Baptist, though many of the motifs of the pagan festival were maintained, including the symbol of the purifying fire, dances and magical traditions.
Barcelona, like the rest of Catalonia, celebrates the day with outdoor festivities called revetlles, featuring bonfires and fireworks, both in family gatherings and in institutional settings. On the afternoon of the 23rd of June the city authorities will greet the Canigó Flame in Plaça Sant Jaume. The celebration will include the participation of folkloric animal figures such as the Àliga (Eagle) and the Gegants (giants), who will be dancing to the music of the song Muntanyes del Canigó. Representatives of the city’s different neighbourhood will take the flame to light bonfires in their home areas and mark the beginning of a short but intense night of celebrations.
This year, the symbol of the flame takes on a special significance since it is the 50th anniversary of the time when the Canigó Flame passed the border from France as a symbol of the union between the Catalan territories on both sides of the frontier. The tradition of the Canigó Flame spread rapidly around Catalonia in the 1960s and even reaches the País Valencià community, with the arrival of the flame in Alicante in 1976.
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