Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sant Joan holiday celebrates beginning of summer

Sunday was the Feast of Sant Joan, which celebrates the start of summer and the summer solstice. It is one of the most important feast days for Catalans. The sun is seen as a symbol of fertility and wealth and so it must be given strength provided by bonfires and fireworks lit throughout the village for Sant Joan.

There are said to be three symbols of Sant Joan - fire, water and herbs. Fire symbolises purity, and for this reason fires are lit. Water symbolises healing. Therefore, on this night, in some areas people bathe in the sea. Herbs symbolise remedy and some claim that for the night of Sant Joan their healing qualities are enhanced one hundred times over. These are often picked on the night of Sant Joan.

Unfortunately, the day was overcast and very windy, not the best weather for the celebration of the "Nit de Foc" or "Night of Fire." No one braved the beach during the day so the village was full of people walking the promenade and streets. The shops and restaurants were full. Once again the stage had to be set up right in one of the squares rather than in the open on the promenade.

We celebrated by having the barbecue at the Nautica restaurant. We started off with lovely, crisp sardines,  followed by a huge plate of too much meat.There were two kinds of sausages, a pork chop, chicken and something that was new to us. It was a type of pork blood sausage with lots of herbs in it. I've never eaten a blood sausage in my life but this was delicious. All this was accompanied by lots of cava. I'm afraid that I didn't do justice to the rest of the meat. The evening closed with the owners performing a funny dance number.

On the beach there were lots of fireworks going off, some quite colourful and spectacular. Families we're letting off their smaller fireworks on the beach. The weather really put a damper on things, with no bonfire possible because of the high winds. Certainly no one was purifying themselves in the very rough sea.

We decided that we would watch the celebrations from our terrace. The fireworks went on for hours. Just when you would think the spectacular fireworks were over they would start up again. It was easy to hear the band so every so often we would stand outside and listen to it but we weren't motivated to go back to the village as the wind seemed to have picked up even more. Even with the wind there were lots of people enjoying the Nit de Foc.

No comments: