Read in Catalan

In Catalonia, St John's Eve, 23rd June, has long been celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. "In 1955, a Catalan, Francesc Pujada, inspired by a poem by Jacint Verdaguer, instigated the custom of lighting Sant Joan fires on the peak of the Canigó and spreading the flame out from there", explains French public TV channel France 3 in a report today.

"This custom quickly became popular in Northern Catalonia", the report continues, "In 1966, despite the Franco dictatorship, the flame crossed the border and spread throughout the Catalan lands". The channel opens its report with the earliest-known surviving video of the lighting of the flame, dating from 1961.

The Canigó (Canigou in French) is a mountain in the French Pyrenees; it gave its name to an epic poem by Jacint Verdaguer first published in 1886.

The tradition of the Flama del Canigó, the Canigó flame, continues today. Earlier this morning, it arrived at the Catalan Parliament, welcomed with a message written by former speaker Carme Forcadell from prison.