La verbena de San Juan in Barcelona

La verbena de San Juan is really a big party in Barcelona, in Spain. It is a long tradition and nowadays people keep celebrating it. They carry a flame from the top of the mountain Canigó, located in the Pyrenees all the way down to Plaza de Sant Jaume in Barcelona. Tourists usually are there, ready to see them arriving, with an eagle and two giants (the so-called gegants).

We are not sure about the role of the giants in this event, but they seem very important, since their figures- always the ones representing kings, queens and rich people- are shown across the city. When they arrive in the Plaza, there are fireworks up on the sky, and it is a very beautiful show, since some of the people carry balloons and most of the time they let them go. So, imagine the sky full of light and balloons!

Of course the party is not over yet: two people then come forward with the flame carried from Canigó, without talking, as the tradition requires. After a while they start to speak in Catalan, underlining their prides.

At this point everybody claps their hands, feeling like a whole big family- a Catalan one, of course- and the flame is carried across the city to turn on all the different bonfires across the city. The official ones are only 12, which are very big, but of course lots of smaller ones are turned on here and there.

Don’t be astonished if you see someone jumping over the small bonfires: it is a symbol, a ritual in order to purify oneself. The legend says if you jump over the fire three times, all your sins are burned away. So, if you feel like a sinner, jump! Teenagers also burn school notes, as a part of the tradition: it is a way to detach
from the last school year. Of course you will always find some jerks, who burn whatever they find in the street: cans, papers, leaves, bottles, etc.

Don’t worry if you get hungry or thirsty: all around you can find the so-called revettles de Sant Juan, where you can satisfy your stomach.