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Lisa & Tony Sierra

Enjoy Coca de San Juan

By June 20, 2013

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Coca de San Juan - St. John's Sweet Bread

Most festivals in Spain have a religious origin, like La Noche de San Juan or St. John's Night, when people light fires, and camp on the beach. This celebration is really the feast day of St. John the Baptist, and in Spain it is celebrated on the night of June 23 with huge bonfires in the streets and on beaches; with public firework shows and festivities, which continue on the next day. This saint's day also coincides with the summer solstice, an ancient celebration pre-dating Christianity.

So, you are probably wondering how does St. John and the summer solstice relate to food? As with most festivals in Spain, there is a special dish prepared for it called Coca de San Juan. A coca is a cake or sweet bread. Coca de San Juan is usually flat, oblong sweet bread, topped with candied fruits.

In Alicante, (part of Valencia) on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, the celebration is especially fun, and large fires or hogueras are lit. Visit the Turespaña from the Instituto de Turismo de Espana, the official tourism site of Spain, and read the article Las Hogueras de San Juan - San Juan Bonfire Festival.

Photo © Lisa Sierra, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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