Sant Joan in Catalonia: more ‘coques’, fireworks, and concern for pets

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In Catalonia, bakers are preparing for a busy period during the celebration of Sant Joan, known as San Juan in the rest of Spain. It is expected that over 2 million ‘coques’ will be sold, an increase of 5% compared to last year. The prices for these traditional sweet breads range between €18 and €22.

Antoni Bellart, president of the bakers’ guild, notes that consumer buying habits are changing. “Thirty years ago, people bought one large traditional ‘coca’. Now, they want to try different flavours.” This year, pastry chefs have introduced new variations, such as lemon, matcha tea, and fillings like truffle or raspberry jam. Nevertheless, the traditional ‘coca’ with candied fruit remains the best-selling variant.

Fireworks and bonfires

Sant Joan, celebrated on June 23, marks the feast day of John the Baptist and coincides with the summer solstice. The ‘revetlla de Sant Joan’ is a night full of bonfires on the beaches, fireworks, music, and communal dinners.

This year, €23 million in fireworks sales is expected, a 5% increase. In the days leading up to Sant Joan, there will be 1,992 firework vendors in the region. Consumer preferences are shifting towards less noisy and more colourful products. However, louder firecrackers remain popular with a loyal customer base.

Recent rainfall has reduced the fire risk and alleviated the three-year drought in Catalonia, making additional restrictions unnecessary. Additionally, a pilot project will be launched with waste collection containers in Barcelona and Palau-solità i Plegamans to recycle firework debris.

Concern for pets

Sant Joan, with its fireworks, is not festive for everyone. Owners of dogs and cats see their pets suffer due to the loud and stressful bangs of fireworks. Dogs and cats have much sharper hearing than humans, making them highly sensitive to loud noises. The number of missing pets nearly doubles after the Sant Joan celebrations, and the number of found animals increases by 137%.

To address these issues, the municipality of Castellolí offers free shelter for dogs during the night of Sant Joan. The kennel is located in a higher, quieter area, two kilometres from the town, so the dogs cannot hear the sounds of the fireworks.

Mayor Joan Serra emphasises the importance of this measure: “It is the fairest for everyone. By bringing the dogs to an idyllic natural location, they can spend the night as special as we do, without the stress of fireworks.”

Tamara, a resident who inspired the mayor with this initiative, shares that her dog becomes very anxious due to the firework bangs during Sant Joan. “He is terrified of firecrackers. It is really tough for him, he gets very scared. It is terrible,” she says. Although she appreciates the initiative, she remains undecided about what is best for her dog: leaving him alone in the shelter or keeping him at home to manage his anxiety.

Also read: San Juan: Celebrate history and tradition across Spain

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