Nit de Sant Joan

The Barcelona Revetlla

The Revetlla de Sant Joan, held on 23 June, is one of the most traditional festivals in the Països Catalans [Catalan Countries]. The main features of these celebrations are bonfires, music, dancing and coca tarts. A lot of Barcelona organisations hold revetlla celebrations in the city's streets and squares, with orchestras, dancing and, in some cases, bonfires.

La Flama del Canigó, a fire that more than fifty years ago joined the Catalan-speaking territories

One of the most distinctive rituals of the night of San Juan is the flame of Canigó, a fire that emerged at the top of this massif and that in one night extends throughout all Catalan-speaking territories to light bonfires. In addition, the fire of the Flama del Canigó never goes out: during the whole year, it remains at the Museum of the Pairal House of Perpignan until, every June 22, it is taken to the summit of Canigó. At midnight, the fire of la Flama begins the route and it is scattered and split to light the bonfires of San Juan of hundreds of towns.

This ritual began in 1955 on the initiative of Francesc Pujades, a neighbor from Arles de Tec (Vallespir). Inspired by the poem 'Canigó' by Jacint Verdaguer, he had the idea of ​​turning the fires of San Juan on top of the mountain and distributing his flame everywhere. It was not until 1966 that the fire passed the border for the first time and arrived in Vic. And the following year, in 1967, he was received at the Barcelona City Council. Despite the Francoist dictatorship, the tradition spread throughout the Catalan-speaking territories as a symbol of survival of the country's culture.

Arrival of the Flama del Canigó in Barcelona

For more than fifty years, the Flama del Canigó has arrived in Barcelona, ​​where it is received solemnly in Plaça de Sant Jaume. This year will be the Giants of the City, the Eagle, music and herbal remedies for everyone! After the peveter's lighting, the representatives of each neighborhood will go up to the stage to catch the fire that will light the bonfires throughout the city.

Program:

16.30 pm Celebration of the reception of the flame in the Plaça de Sant Jaume. With sardanas with the cobla Sant Jordi – Ciutat de Barcelona.

18.00 p.m. Arrival of the Flama del Canigó in plaça de Sant Jaume.

18.05 h. Dances of the city’s Eagle and the Giants of the City.

6.15 pm Reading of the flame message of this year, by Carme Forcadell.

18:30 pm Flame distribution. The teams are going to collect the fire from the Canigó, which will be used to light various bonfires throughout the city.

Missatge del 2019 de la Flama del Canigó

The first time I heard talk of the Canigó Flame was when I became a member of Òmnium Cultural. I could hardly have imagined that many years later I would have the honour of welcoming it at the door to the Parliament of Catalonia as the president of the institution, alongside Òmnium president Jordi Cutxart. Even harder to have imagined was that months later, first he, and later myself, would go to prison for defending fundamental rights and democratic freedoms.

The flame is a call for freedom which symbolises the unity of the Catalan language over and above historical vicissitudes and political borders A tradition which began in 1955 and from 1966 onwards has become a banner for unity and freedom which bonds together the north and the south of Catalonia, and which year after year reaches us, rekindling our commitment to Catalan language and culture and to spreading it to all the towns and cities of the Catalan-speaking lands.

Fire is a symbolic element, present in the most firmly rooted and distinctive traditions of Catalan culture since time immemorial. Festivities based around fire have an important place in our traditions and customs, linked to our celebrations and present in the most important ceremonies around the Catalan-speaking lands.

Just as the flame renews our unity with the Catalan language year after year, we too renew our commitment to justice, peace and freedom. May the flame light the way for us, be a beacon for the future and for hope, let’s always keep it lit as a symbol of democracy, justice and freedom. May the flame be our banner of culture and freedom.

Take to the street and receive the flame, live life and celebrate Sant Joan, the national festivity of the Catalan-speaking lands, and know that whatever happens we will meet again in freedom.

Carme Forcadell, President of the Parliament of Catalonia (2015-2017)
Alcalá Meco Prison, May 2019

The advice from civil protection and prevention: be careful with fireworks

Fireworks must be used with caution. Here is some basic advice to help you to enjoy a safe festive eve!

Fireworks:

  • Never keep fireworks in your pockets. Any that are accidentally lit could cause injury, even a serious one.
  • Never throw any fireworks at people or animals.
  • Never put your face or any limb over or in front of any firework that is lit, as that can cause burns and injuries to your eyes.
  • It is against the law to launch rockets, balloons or any other item containing fire from a distance of under 500 metres from a forest area.
  • Fireworks must always be bought at establishments authorised to sell them.
  • When lighting a firework, strictly follow the rules for using them 

At home:

  • Close your windows and balconies to prevent the entry of any stray rockets. That way you will protect your home from any risk of catching fire.
  • Take down any clothes from rooftops and terraces to prevent any rocket sparks from causing a fire.
  • Fold any awnings you may have out on your terraces.
  • Never throw any bangers inside a house.

Bonfires:

  • Bonfires must be at least 15 metres from house facades and parked cars and never be built under electricity or telephone lines.
  • Whenever street bonfires are held, make sure there is room for emergency vehicles to pass through. Road surfaces must be covered with a sufficiently thick layer of earth or sand to protect them from damage.
  • Never use any kind of accelerant to light a bonfire, as the explosion this would cause could set fire to the clothes or hair of anyone standing near it.
  • Never throw cans, tins, sprays, etc., into a bonfire, as these can explode.
  • If you want to build a bonfire, you need to ask the corresponding district for permission beforehand.

Source: Barcelona Fire Brigade

Sant Joan traditions

Sant Joan's 'coca'

This Catalan flat bread comes in various guises: sweetened with marzipan, cream or whipped cream and decorated with pine nuts, crackling or candied fruit.

Sant Joan bonfires

Bonfires in Barcelona's squares and road junctions are the most outstanding and eye-catching part of the festive eve.

Fireworks

Barcelona has a long tradition of firework displays throughout this night, when kilos of fireworks are set off, giving off idiosyncratic sounds and brilliant lights.