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San Juan August 7, 2010

Posted by mmcdonough6 in Travel Log.

America is known for the Fourth of July.  We have fireworks, picnics, family, and long nights of celebrations.  Everyone knows about it.  Somehow, though, no one knows about the Spanish holiday of San Juan.  And believe me, it puts the Fourth of July to shame.  The basic idea of the holiday is to celebrate the Saint’s day along with Midsummer’s Eve.  The dates don’t exactly coincide, but it just helps to make one big celebration instead of two smaller ones.

Basically, the night starts out with fireworks.  Lots of them.  Imagine little kids, adults, and everyone in between running mad on the streets tossing firecrackers every which way.  It’s like a severely intense game of dodgeball, except instead of dodging balls you’re dodging miniature explosions.  In the midst of this madness, people are flocking to the streets to dance and eat and drink, turning the streets into public parties.  After exploring this for a bit at the Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona group decided to move towards the beaches, along with about six million other residents of Barcelona.  Needless to say, it was insane.  People were camped out on the beach with bonfires (one of the traditions is to hop over the fire) and food, singing and dancing and just hanging out.  We spent most of the night just hanging out, watching more fireworks, and trying to make sense of the whole scene.  After all of the excitement of the night, we hardly missed being home for the very much toned down American Fourth of July.

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