The summer solstice remains a magical night in much of the northern hemisphere. Mythology states that strange things can occur on this shortest night of the year. Read along to find out how the Night of San Juan is lived in the south of Spain.
In Andalucia, San Juan is celebrated on the night of June 23rd. Malaga might be the Andalusian city that most fervently celebrates the Night of San Juan. Bonfires on the beach characterise the year’s shortest night and are accompanied by delicious figs and “espetos” de sardinas.
This year we are still waiting for the confirmation with which rules Andalucia will allow us to celebrate San Juan.
Memorable San Juan
Summer life in Spain, with its love of having a good time in the company of friends and loved ones. The Night of San Juan is definitely one of these events. It is a celebration that is usually held on the beach with roaring bonfires, drink, food, and friends. It is a memorable, almost surreal scene and one that needs to be experienced.
So welcome to the magical night of San Juan. San Juan is all about changes. It is about night and day; fire and water. Fire purifies and water recuperates, refreshes, and rejuvenates.
The tradition requires for 3 wishes to be written on a piece of paper, which later has to be thrown in the fire; those who do this also have to jump over the fire three times to ensure their body is purified and their problems burned away. The beaches get filled with music and fireworks illuminate the bay of Malaga when midnight strikes.
It is ritual that rules at San Juan. After midnight, for example, people wash their faces and feet three times in order to be granted three wishes and for a happy twelve months thereafter. Bathing at this time is also said to be beneficial for skin complaints. In the previous years, the sight of hundreds and even thousands of people wandering into the water after midnight with the haze of bonfires everywhere can be close to awe inspiring.
San Juan in Jaen
The town of Cazorla relives a very peculiar tradition: the Noche de la Tragantia. Legend has it that the ruler of Cazorla kept a young girl in the dungeons of the castle of La Yedra, to protect her during a siege. However, he was killed, and no one ever knew about his protegee. The girl survived by eating rodents and the lower part of her body turned into that of a snake. This legend is celebrated with plays, dances and music in the streets of the town during the Night of San Juan.
The towns of Montizon and Navas de San Juan also celebrate the shortest night of the year by releasing heifers in the streets.
Have you already had the chance to celebrate San Juan evening in Andalucia? Let us know your experience via our social media channels.