Today is one of those days I wish I could just hop on a plane and fly back to Porto.
Why? It’s St. John’s day (S. João). It always takes place on the 23rd of June and goes more or less like this: you gather some friends and make a sardine barbecue. Yep, you’re right. You boil some potates, roast some green peppers, make a salad and finish it off with broa – typical brown bread in Portugal. You open a few beers. Have one too many. Around 11 you make your way to the city centre and walk over to the D. Luiz bridge – designed by Eiffel (yes, the same that built the Eiffel Tower) and watch the brilliant firework that happens at midnight. After that just pick up your plastic noisy hammer and just start hitting people. Sounds weird? It does. But it’s SO much fun! Then you buy Super Bock – Porto’s beer at every corner and just enjoy your night while dancing to popular portuguese tunes or jumping over the fires – yes there are fires! There are concerts all over the city and it’s not a good night if you don’t end up having breakfast at 9 am in the beach after watching the sun come up.
Really, even older people are on the streets. You’re likely to spot your own parents dancing merrily around the city. To be honest is one of my favourite nights. It has been held in Porto for over six centuries- yes you’ve read correctly – because it used to be a celebration for the summer solstice.
If you ever go to Portugal, try to fit this night through your passage in Porto. Have a look at the video so you can have an idea (and then go crazy on youtube S João videos)