The Noche de San Juan (Night of Saint John) is upon us; one of the most important fiestas in Barcelona. A night of happiness that is celebrated with traditional bonfires, fireworks, open-air parties in family groups or in the neighbourhood, music and dancing, and cakes accompanied by glasses of cava.
The fiesta of San Juan has distant origins. It coincides with the summer solstice, the shortest night, and the longest day, of the year. In many parts of the world, the solstice is celebrated with parties and bonfires. It is said that the flames encourage the sun to prolong its light, as after the solstice the days begin to get shorter. It is also said that witches and other supernatural beings mark the occasion with their annual meetings.
The fiesta of San Juan also has a religious origin. According to tradition, it is celebrated at midnight on 23–24 June, which is the date that Saint John the Baptist was born and Zachariah, his father, who was sent to light a bonfire to announce the birth of his son to the four winds.
The fiesta of San Juan is celebrated in many countries, especially in the Mediterranean, and is even considered the national fiesta in some places. Catalonia, which is very fond of all kinds of family and group celebrations, always invents a gastronomic speciality to round things off. Food for the fiesta of San Juan revolves around the “coca”: a cake with candied fruit and pine nuts that comes in many varieties and is made in an ideal shape for sharing.
At 7 Portes, we have contributed to the celebration of popular fiestas for many years by decorating our restaurant with appropriate items, organising exhibitions and live music for customers and, most importantly, providing special food. When we celebrate the fiesta of San Juan we open the terrace and offer a festive menu that includes coca and cava. To extend the fiesta, you can order this menu all week.
The fiesta of San Juan celebrates the start of the summer, the beginning of the good weather. It is the starting shot for an abundance of fruit, oily fish and an explosion of colours, cool wines, almost transparent rosés, paellas in the open air and attractive salads. And of course, it’s also the start of the holidays.