The Feast of Sant Joan, also called the eve of Saint John or the night of Saint John, is a feast of pagan origin held on June 23, the eve of the day of Saint John the Baptist, when people usually light bonfires and shoot firework. In addition, it is tradition to end the festive supper with coca de San Juan, a special cake, and Cava, Spanish Champagne.
The arrival of the summer is celebrated throughout the Spanish geography with ancestral traditions. San Juan is considered the shortest night of the year, although in some cities it is extended until dawn. The night of San Juan has acquired the magic of the ancient pagan feasts that were organized with the summer solstice.
The origin of this festivity is associated with the celebrations in which the arrival of the summer solstice was celebrated, whose main ritual is to light a bonfire. The purpose of this ritual was to «give more strength to the sun», which at those days was becoming more «weak» – because the days become shorter until the winter solstice. Symbolically, the fire also has a «purifying» function in people who viewed it.
It is celebrated in many parts of Europe, although it is especially rooted inSpain, Portugal (São João campfires), Norway (Jonsok), Denmark (Sankthans), Sweden (Midsommar), Finland (Juhannus), Estonia (Jaanipäev) and the United Kingdom (Midsummer).