Midsummer (The eve of San Juan: 23rd June)bonfire.JPG (19109 bytes)

The summer solstice marks the year's shortest night. Its celebration goes back to pre-Roman days and was later incorporated into the Catholic church calendar as the feast of John the Baptist (San Juan).

Fire plays a big part in this celebration. Across Spain (but especially so in Catalonia) bonfires glow throughout the night. Old pieces of junk and furniture are piled high on spareland, at street corners, in main square and thenare burnt in the "hogueras" of "San Juan"


Fireworks, bangers, rockets, etc are set of non-stop all night (no point in trying to sleep!) Dances are held, celebrations in the main squares of towns and villages, people each a special cake called "coca" decorated with crystallised fruit, pine nuts, custard cream, and thousands of bottles of "cava" (sparkling wine, rather like champagne) are drunk.coca.JPG (9460 bytes)

If you would like an easy recipe to make a coca, click here!

In Barcelona the biggest celebration is at Montjuich, with an enormous bonfire and fantastic firework disply.

In San Pedro de Manrique (Soria province) participants walk barefoot over the coals