Le feu de la Saint-Jean to celebrate the solstice
Le feu de la Saint-Jean is a typical Catalan tradition. It is a yearly recurring festive evening around the summer solstice. The association ‘Les Amis de la Cesse et du Brian’, with members from various villages nearby, has been following this tradition for more than 50 years. One day in advance the ‘Amis’ gather the wood for the stake. On June 23rd at nightfall, the dusk is the moment when they light the fire. It goes without saying that this pretty culinary club has all this accompanied by a nice ‘grillade de saucisse’.
Especially in the Roussillon many villages keep the tradition and it is said that the light of the fires can be seen up to Barcelona and Marseille. The celebration also includes a ‘Bouquet de Saint-Jean’. An original bouquet consists of leaves of a walnut tree, St. John’s Wort, Immortellen (straw flowers) and orpin herb, which should be gathered before dawn. According to legend, the bouquet is hung at the door to protect young girls from the devil.