Sant Joan 2013
Celebrate the summer solstice like the Catalans with a night of fireworks, bonfires, coca and rivers of cava
Although the official public holiday falls on the 24th, Saint John's Day, the real celebrations take place on Saint John's Eve, what Catalans call 'la revetlla' - the evening before an important festival, where the concept of evening is stretched until the early hours of the following morning. Now we've covered the basics, it's time to sketch a plan for some midsummer madness. Start the night with a glass of cava and an aperitif: you'll need plenty of energy if you're going to survive until morning.
You'll also need strong nerves: unsupervised kids with bags of noisy firecrackers are part and parcel of the tradition. Pretty soon the whole city is vibrating to the sound of ricocheting bangers. This could be a good moment for a slice of coca - the colourful candied fruit, glace cherries, scattered pine nuts and liberal dusting of sugar make an edible firework display in themselves. A strong coffee and you're ready to join the party.
One of the best ways to experience the festival is to join one of the street parties held in Barcelona's different districts - there are over 50 in total. Some offer tickets that include a sit-down supper, drinks, coca de Sant Joan and concerts, while others simply provide tables and chairs so that people can bring their own party out onto the street.
As well as the information on its website, the Ajuntament has created a downloadable smartphone app that provides all the practical information you'll need to enjoy the festival. If all the different ways of celebrating Sant Joan have a common denominator, it's the inclusive nature of the festivities: it's a festival for everyone to enjoy in the open air, on one of the first nights of summer.