The month of June is one that we love because it is the month that signifies the coming of summer and the outings that go hand in hand.
June 23rd, St. Jean Baptiste Day, is celebrated throughout Europe, however in Spain, the party takes on a whole different dimension.
We invite you today to rediscover the Saint Jean throughout this article, after which you will surely want to book your spots aboard a train Renfe - SNCF in Cooperation in order to celebrate summer’s return in Spain!
Saint Jean’s Origins
In Christian tradition, Saint Jean night pays tribute to Saint Jean Baptiste’s birth. For Christians, the night of June 23rd to 24th, the shortest of the year, is a holy and sacred night dedicated to purification. It is however celebrated by the greatest amount of individuals as the shortest - yet equally the most magical - night of the year.
Nowadays, its value is closer to the magic of ancient pagan festivals, organized for the summer solstice where fire was used to burn old objects, water was purified and dancing were in the spotlight. In fact, the Celtic druids celebrated the arrival of the summer solstice by lighting bonfires to bless the earth, animals and people. The Greeks also lit great fires to pay homage to Apollo, the god of sun and light... The celebration of the solstice is in fact something that we find in many civilizations: among the Aztec warriors, the Berbers, the Hindus…
Fire is one of the three ancestral symbols whose tradition has remained to present day. Purifier, it frees people from whatever they wish to leave behind.
Water, on its behalf, acquires healing virtues; this is why it is customary in many places to swim in the sea or in the rivers that night.
Herbs, the third element, in the night of the 23rd to the 24th, would have healing properties tenfold.
One of the symbols of San Juan is the fire
How is Saint Jean celebrated in Spain?
Every year, on the night of June 23rd-24th, and throughout the day of June 24th, events are held across the country in order to celebrate the Saint Jean.
The Saint Jean in Barcelona is a popular festival: people meet in the streets illuminated by blazing bonfires for the occasion, firecrackers and fireworks are sent flying all over the city and one savors La Coca de San Juan, a typical regional pastry at this time of year.
The sweet traditional in Catalonia is the "coca de Sant Joan"
In Madrid, Saint Jean is celebrated throughout the entire city. The different districts organize vigils that correspond to the beginning of summer activities! The biggest bonfires are those of San Francisco el Grande, the Bilbao District, the Elipa, San Pascual or Vicálvaro.
Whatever the city of Spain in which you decide to spend the Saint Jean, you will not miss out on having fun and enjoying an absolutely incredible atmosphere!
In order to recover from your emotions, take a seat in a Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation chair and relax. While we take you home, you have only one thing to think about: the next party that you’re going to celebrate in Spain!