San Juan Festivity in Spain
Saint John the Baptist Day is celebrated in many villages and towns in Spain.
Many events take place on the evening of June 23. People celebrate Saint John the Baptist Day by:
- Lighting bonfires, jumping over small fires and setting off fireworks.
- Writing wishes or sins on a piece of paper and burning the paper.
- Diving or bathing in dew, a stream, a river or the sea.
- Staying awake all night near a small fire.
- Watching the sun rise on the morning of June 24
Cooking sardines and eat them with friends around de fire
The drinks cava and ratafia are associated with Saint John the Baptist
Eve and Day celebrations. Cava is sparkling wine produced in the Catalan region. Ratafia is an alcoholic liqueur or cordial made of wine, spirits and fresh fruit or herbs. Many people eat coca. These are flat loaves of bread with sweet or savory toppings.The most popular dessert in San Juan is “Coca de San Juan” a lovely baked caked with sugar glassed fruits. Some are made with custard cream. Saint John the Baptist Day is a public holiday in the autonomous community of Catalonia on June 24. Public life is generally quiet. Most businesses and other organizations are closed. Most stores are closed but some bakers and food stores may be open. Public transport services generally run to a reduced schedule, although there may be no services in rural areas.
Large events may cause some local disruption to traffic, particularly in town and village centers. St John was a preacher and religious figure during Jesus’ lifetime, according to Christian belief. Baptism rituals in the Jordan River were an important part of his ministry. He is thought to have baptized Jesus.
This may have laid the foundation for the baptism rituals in many Christian churches. It is unknown when or where St John was born, but it was probably before the birth of Jesus. His nativity, or birth, is celebrated on June 24 in many churches. He was beheaded sometime around the year 30 CE.
He is the patron saint of many villages, towns and regions, including Catalonia. The Saint John the Baptist Eve and Day celebrations have their origin in ancient Midsummer solstice celebrations. These are reflected in the use of fire, water and certain herbs in the celebrations. Images of St John the Baptist often depict him wearing a camel-skin robe and with a cross and a lamb. He is often shown baptizing people, particularly Jesus.