On and around June 23rd
A week after La Trobada, at midnight on 22 June, the fire on top of the Canigou is lit with a flame permanently kept alive in the Casa Pairal. A flaming torch, kept throughout the year at the Castillet in Perpignan, is carried to the top of the mountain and used to light the bonfire which can be seen all over the Conflent. The next day, relay runners carry the “flamme du Canigou” down onto the plain to all the villages they pass through on the way to Perpignan and in the evening, these flames light the “Focs de la Sant Joan” or “Feux de la Saint Jean”, fires that have been prepared in towns and villages all over the region. With the arrival of the torch, and the lighting of the fires, the festivities begin.
In Perpignan for example, this consists of music and dancing, fireworks and laser display, a giant screen in front of the Castillet showing the procession of the flame and its presentation by runners, the traditional ceremony of the sharing of the bread (le partage du pain) with shepherds from the Canigou, son et lumière………. but there is some kind of celebration in most towns and villages around the region.
It is a night for celebration and an important symbol of the unity of the Catalan culture
Herbs are traditionally an important part of the Feux de la Saint Jean as it is said that their curative powers are 100 times stronger on this particular evening. Rosemary, thyme, verbena and other herbs are picked and made into bouquets and garlands – verbena in particular is supposed to have mystical properties and act as an aphrodisiac, whilst carlina (a type of thistle shaped like the sun) is also believed to have aphrodisiac qualities and is nailed to the doors to protect from evil spirits and to prevent ‘mauvaises fées’ (bad fairies) from entering the house.
A selection of typical yearly events throughout the region on 23rd June.
Check with your local tourist office for a more accurate and detailed programme on events where you live or are staying.
Music and dancing
Arrival of the flame and dégustation (tasting)
Feu de la St Jean Place San Marti au château.
Parades and arrival of the flame. Bonfire and music on the beach.
Sardanes sur la place Paul Reig
Place de l’Obélisque – arrival of the flame and sardane
Fireworks, music and dancing
Fête des Feux de la Sant Joan.
Total Festum : fête et feux de la Saint-Jean Llevant de taula
Music with cobla
Veillée catalane at 20h15
Arrival of the Saint Jean torch and concert
Foc de Sant Joan
Arrival of the flame with parade accompanied by the Gegants d’Argeles, les Cantaïres, le Foment de la Sardane and singers
Correfoc, fireworks and ‘bal’.
Prats de Mollo
Music and big bonfire in the square
Music and fireworks at Prats de la Farga
Villeneuve de la Raho
Fireworks and ‘bal’ on lakeside.
Lighting of the fire. Sardanes, bbq…..
Lighting of the fire. Sardanes, tastings of traditional Catalan food and wine…..
…….and many, many more events all over the Pyrenees-Orientales