Friday, June 27, 2014

Nit de Sant Joan

Whew! I feel like it's been a very long time since last I blogged, but it's only been a week...just a very long week. Before I get into this week's topic (it's food!) let me tell you about a local holiday we celebrated this week. June 24th, a Tuesday, was Saint Joan the Baptiste Day here in Barcelona, which was celebrated by having off from work. The night before the holiday, Monday night, is the Nit de Sant Joan, or the Nit de Foc, which means the Night of Fire. A large group of us went to the beach, as we were told it was custom. I can't say for sure what I expected to find, but it certainly wasn't the seemingly smoke-filled war zone we did find.

Coming out of the metro station, the beach was covered in a thick haze of gunpowder and barbecue smoke, and it sounded like a battlefield from a movie. In reality, people of all ages were constantly lighting off fireworks, from tiny handheld firecrackers to giant rockets and mortars that light the night sky. Trying to cross from the boardwalk area to the beach proper was done so at one's own risk, twice I nearly stepped on a firecracker or tube about to go off. Once we were situated in a safe (relatively) position, we were able to enjoy the spectacle. From where I was, I could see up and down the beachfront for miles, and everywhere there was the flash and pop of fireworks being set off. Kids as young as 3 years old were cavorting about the beach, throwing firecrackers willy-nilly, sometimes right in the middle of groups of sitting people. After midnight, all the curiously large piles of wood we'd noticed suddenly got lit into humongous bonfires, lighting the beach up as far as one could see. Minutes later, street performers dressed as devils came running, swirling through the smoke and fire and throwing firecrackers and shooting roman candles. At first, I didn't know if I should be terrified or not, but I quickly realized they weren't really devils. The performers did good job scaring most people, but it was all in good fun though, as the night was one of celebration, with all the fire a homage to the shortest night of the year. It certainly didn't feel short though.

Arriving at the beach around 9 PM, the festivities continued well into the morning; 3 AM came and went and there was no end. Finally, the sun peaked over the horizon, ending the last few holdouts. It was an amazing night, filled with the constant crackle and rolling thunder of fireworks near and far, and groups of street performers and musicians.

Nit de Foc at Barceloneta Beach

The only thing it was missing was some good food, which I'll talk about in my next post!.

No comments:

Post a Comment