Yesterday was the Fiesta Sant Joan. It marks the shortest night of the year and is celebrated with fireworks, bonfires, coca (cake) and cava. It seems to be one of the more important fiestas of the year of which there are many. We decided to avoid downtown Sitges and the beach and have a quiet evening with a lamb roast.
We left our house to have a walk in the vineyard and met our neighbors starting a walk with their dog Goku. So we joined them. As we set out they mentioned that they were celebrating Sant Joan at home with some pan de tomate, jamon, and cava. At the end of our walk we met their friends Toni and Consol and their son who had come to join Kim Virginia for the celebration. They told us that their house was open if we would like to join them and of course we did. Put the roast back in the fridge. Grabbed a bottle of cava and a can of olives and went to join them.
To feel so welcomed and accepted as part of their tradition was so heartwarming. I wish I could put into words what that feels like. The feast that they laid out was not adequately described by pan de tomate and jamon! Yes, there was pan de tomate and jamon plus asparagus, hearts of palm, chorizo, and two kinds of paté. There was also the amazing dip with no name which per Kim is “dip of tuna, pickled mussels and mayonnaise (Dip de atún, mejillones en escabeche y mayonesa).” Not to mention the bottomless bottles of cava.
It was wonderful to listen to their stories of childhood celebrations of Sant Joan. Gathering and hiding anything that would burn in preparation for the bonfire. Toni’s stories of time spent at his grandfather’s house (now his) which is located on the other side of the valley from our village. Different times and incredible history. We so enjoyed getting to know them and learning more of the language(s).
During the entire evening we had the sound of fireworks in the background. It is hard to imagine just how much money was blown up last night.
The night ended, late of course, with two types of traditional coca (cake). Which Virginia proceeded to cut up with a large pair of scissors. Not sure if this is part of the tradition or just Virginia’s wonderful way of doing it.
As I have mentioned we love the culture and the people and truly want to learn and embrace them. We are so very thankful that they are embracing us as well.