Barcelona Skyline

Monday, 27 April 2009

Sant Ponç: medicinal herbs and honey

If you find yourself wandering the streets near the Hotel Principal on May 11 you will find yourself in the middle of quite a crowd. The super popular Festa de Sant Ponç (The Party of Sant Pons) is celebrated on this day on Calle Hospital between the Ramblas and the Rambla del Raval. This tradition dates back hundreds of years and has always featured all kinds of healing herbs and extravagant and original varieties of honey and now includes preserved fruits, perfumed candles, and other naturally healthy products.

Celebrated at the time of the maximum splendor of wild flowers and aromatic herbs, St. Ponç has misty, pagan origins. Apparently the Christian version all started when the pagan god of natural medicinal herbs somehow morphed into San Ponç who became the patron saint beekeepers and natural herbalists. Spring housecleaning traditions became associated with this day: if you clean the house on his day, St. Ponç will keep it free from parasites for the entire year; if you put a bunch of herbs under the bed you keep evil spirits away.

This is one of the most agreeable and pleasant of all Barcelona traditions. You can spend hours browsing through the stands and their original, natural, and healthy products. So come and try the sweet fruits and natural medicines and get back to nature in the middle of the great Catalan capital city.

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