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Monday, May 28, 2012 (read 17553 times)

San Juan Festival - Bonfires of Saint John

by Hannah

The Festival of San Juan is celebrated annually on the 23rd of June, the shortest night of the year. Traditions vary around cities in Spain; the largest celebration takes place in Alicante, although Valencia and other areas of Calalonia, Tenerife and Gran Canaria hold prominent festivities.

During this festival, hogueras de San Juan, or the bonfires of Saint John, are lit in cities all around Spain, especially on the beaches of costal areas. The bonfire preparation is done days in advance, and it’s something that Spaniards of all ages take part in, and look forward to. According to the traditions of the festival, anyone who jumps over a bonfire three times on la noche de San Juan, will be cleansed and purified, and their problems will be burned away.

Other, less dangerous traditions for this festival include splashing in the waters of the Atlantic at midnight, which has the same cleansing result as jumping over the fire. In some parts of Spain, three potatoes are places under the pillow before going to sleep; one peeled, one half peeled and an unpeeled potato. In the morning, pulling out one potato without looking predicts what the year ahead will bring – the peeled potato signifies monetary problems, the half peeled one means you will go through many ups and downs, and the unpeeled potato predicts health and prosperity in store.

Another tradition, especially for women, is preparing perfumed water, which combines the scents of seven plants – including rosemary, roses and laurel. Bathing or washing in this water is another method of purification for the new season.

After the age-old traditions have been performed, the Spanish enjoy a night of music, dancing and merriment, on the beach or in the town centre, for the shortest night of the year.

Keywords: festival of san juan, san juan festival, san juan spain, san juan feast, san juan, fiesta de san juan, festival de san juan, hogueras de san juan, bonfires of saint john, shortest night of the year, alicante spain, san juan alicante

Posted In: Spain, Tourism, Culture


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