It is common in Spain that people to make bonfires and fireworks along the coast all night. The tradition here proposes to swim or get our feet inside the water at 12 pm for waking up the following day with a better look and one year of luck.
It’s called in Spain ‘Noche de San Juan (night of San Juan) but it is the same as bonfires of St. John or Mid-summer’s Eve.
SAN JUAN FESTIVITY HISTORY
The eve of San Juan is known as the longest day of the year, the one that traditionally begins summer, and also the celebration of the birth of San Juan Bautista on June 24. As tradition marks, bonfires and fireworks illuminate various points of the peninsula. But they do it on the night of the 23rd and not on the 24th. And in some places, not in all.
WHEN IS THE NIGHT OF SAN JUAN FESTIVAL?
The night of the 23rd of June is the Midsummer’s Eve or Night of San Juan in Malaga, if you are visiting Southern Spain you should not miss it!
NIGHT OF SAN JUAN IN THE DIFFERENT MUNICIPALITIES
Depending on the municipality in Malaga San Juan Night can be celebrated in different ways:
NIGHT OF SAN JUAN IN TORREMOLINOS, FUENGIROLA, MARBELLA…
On the Costa del Sol there are bonfires along the entire coast until the sunrise, it is common to see people get into the water at 12 pm for getting luck as well as to write wishes on paper before throwing them into the ashes or the sea.
San Juan Night in Torremolinos is very popular as well as in all other coastal towns like Fuengirola or Marbella, neighbourhoods or friends get together on the beach to make barbecues, drink and have a good time. It is also common to see organised events during this night in some areas.
NIGHT OF SAN JUAN IN MALAGA
Malagueta and Misericordia beaches are popular beaches in Malaga for celebrating this special night with a festival, live music, dancing and organised events.
Rincon de la Victoria also usually has live concerts and events before 12 pm.
Some interior municipalities of Malaga without beaches have their own special celebrations for this event, for example, Benaojan has the ‘Mountain Night of San Juan (San Juan Serrano) with free barbecue, events, music, shows, dancing and a bonfire.
SPANISH RITUALS AND TRADITIONS DURING SAN JUAN NIGHT
It is common during the Night of San Juan to meet people practising any of the following magic rituals:
If you are looking for true love there is a magic ritual during the Night of San Juan. Before 12 pm burn two red candles in your bedroom, write on a paper your name and the name of the person you love (if you do not know anyone you love, just write then Soul Mate).
Boil water and add three parts of yarrow, three parts of lavender, three parts of verbena, 12 red rose petals and some ginger. Once done, strain the infusion and let it cold down.
Spray the bedroom with it, fold the paper with both your and your love’s name with the wax from the candles and keep it under the pillow, you will have a prophetic dream about your future love.
The Valencian beaches congregate numerous groups of people under the shelter of a bonfire. Once the fire is lit, they jump over it, thus warding off evil spirits. One of the rituals consists of jumping the bonfire seven times to have protection throughout the year. Although in Galicia the flames fly over up to 9 times. The trick is to jump an odd number of times. Even the ashes have healing properties for the skin.
WATER, SOURCE OF HEALTH AND FERTILITY
When the clock strikes 00.00 on the 24th, the other essential element comes into play, water. Since that time miraculous properties are attributed to it. The next step is to jump the waves, but… are there any guidelines? The answer is yes, jump seven waves backwards and make a wish at the end. In this way, all negative energy is banished and women will see their fertility increase. And do not forget to take a bath to be healthy the rest of the year.
Any of those rituals related to the water will have no effect if we look at ourselves in a mirror during the night, so better avoid mirrors!
EARTH AND MEDICINAL HERBS
Another custom is to go out to the countryside in search of medicinal herbs at midnight and hang them in the window of the house to receive the blessing of Saint John, in the same way, that mistletoe is hung when the winter cold arrives.
LA FONT DE LA JANA
A curious fable about the night of San Juan rests in Teulada, more specifically in one of its fountains, the ‘Font de la Jana’. According to legend, on the morning of June 23 to 24, a fairy “La Joanaina” makes wishes come true like a genie from a lamp with one condition, to reach Teulada with her on her back without turning to look at her under any circumstances.