The feast of St John – a religious holiday that conveniently coincides with ancient pagan ceremonies related to summer solstice (or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere)- is celebrated in many catholic countries with lots of music and bonfires.
In Brazil, the end of June marks the feasts of St John, St Peter and St Anthony and in the north and northeast part of the country their celebration is bigger than Christmas. In most of Brazil the festvities have a rural flavour and everybody dress as hillbillies and do square dancing, build up big fires, and eat all kinds of food that are typical of that holiday. Festa Junina, as we know it, is very popular and its celebration has gone beyond June 24 to mark the last few weeks of June and beginning of July. Every school has its own dance and here's my nephew Matheus in his daycare's Festa Junina and my niece Lorena and her brother Luan at last year's event:
Now, the parties in Barcelona are considerably wilder than anything I've seen in Brazil. The main festivities happen in the beach, where they enact the coming down of the sun and moon and the beginning of the age of hell. I heard there are some wicked fireworks involved. But since we are not into crowded events, we decided to check out the neighbourhood parties and bonfires. You'll see pictures and more comments of the night in Alan's blog . Suffice it to say that it felt like WWIII was on and anarchy had set in. They actually lit a bonfire in the middle of the street – without stopping traffic(!!) – that rose to about 4 stories!!! Very surreal. Anyways, I'll try to put a video of it here later. I'm trying to get them on youtube. Stay tuned.