The 12th of June is a holiday in Salamanca, Spain. However, the celebration of Patron Saint Juan de Sahagún is much more than a one-day experience. There are many cultural activities that expand for the whole week surrounding it.
This year, the holiday occurred on a Tuesday, but celebration began Monday night with a firework show, and following a free concert in a nearby park.
During the actual day of the holiday, there is a mass service held at the Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral) at noon. It is said to be one of the most attended services at the church. All stores are closed, classes are cancelled, and all of the people honor San Juan de Sahagún.
On Wednesday, everyone returns to work and school and prepares for more celebration for the weekend. Beginning on Thursday, a festival of lights begins in the Plaza Mayor. It is an annual tradition that projects artistic trends of light onto the beautiful monuments of Salamanca. There were also projections in the Casa de las Conchas, the New Cathedral (Plaza de Anaya) and the Church at the Convent of San Esteban. Artists participate from around the world, and even University of Salamanca students can participate with the projections on the Casa de las Conchas. If in Spain in June, I highly recommend attending this event. The festival continues through Friday and Saturday and finishes out the week of festivities in Salamanca.
Getting to experience a Spanish holiday in Spain was a neat and rewarding experience. In future travels, I urge you to not only research your area and see what’s going on but participate in the festivities! You may get to see beautiful things like this that the U.S. just doesn’t have to offer.