Tuesday, 22nd September 2020

This Month's Magazine
San Juan

San Juan

A traditional festival with its origins dating back to ancient times

The night of San Juan is one of bonfires, fireworks, music, dancing and traditional foods.

Its origins lie way back in the past and the purpose of the festival is to welcome in summer, its celebration takes place on the shortest night of the year.

Many towns, cities or villages celebrate this fi rst Summer Fiesta. Over the years the festival has taken on a theme and competition between villages, especially those close to the sea, has become heightened.

Customs on the night of San Juan have changed little for hundreds of years; O Corpiño is one such custom, where people will touch an image for luck. In some of the larger towns and cities as many as 200 bonfires will be burnt all night.


Here on the Costa del Sol most of the seaside towns will be hosting their own celebrations with most burning paper maché images on the beach which are lit at midnight. One tradition dictates that by leaping three times over the bonfire you have a chance to purify problems, luckily this rather dangerous practice is discouraged nowadays and people prefer to dive into the sea instead.

The burning of huge effigies on the night of San Juan dates back to a far older pagan ceremony and it has been seen as an important part of the rich and diverse culture and heritage of the Spanish people to keep this and
many other “traditional” festivals alive.

Today the festival is enjoyed by Spain’s vast foreign community as well as the Spanish and it is heartening to see that ancient traditions are being kept alive and that visitors to Spain are being made welcome at such activities.

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