What is the Night of San Juan?
San Juan is a festival celebrated on June 23rd, a magical night that welcomes the summer season. The celebration takes place during the shortest night of the year; the summer solstice. It is a celebration that is usually held on the beach with roaring bonfires, drinks, food and friends.
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 coastal 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. Legends, tradition and magical rituals are connected by common elements: fire and water.
Some mystical people believe that on this magical night paranormal events can occur because ancient pagan gods get closer to humans. For this reason many magical rituals are celebrated. Young people jump over fires which according to legend, gives more strength to the sun, which looses hours of light during the summer.
It is also a night full of Superstition. If you want to be lucky for the next 12 months you may want to do the following:
1) Jump over a bonfire.
2) Burn a piece of paper with your lovers name on it.
3) Burn something old and personal to leave behind bad spirits from the past and start a new phase.
4) Swimming in the ocean after midnight purifies soul and body.
5) Fountains and natural water resources become magic and have healing properties.
Every region in Spain has different local traditions, however all of them are related to fire and water.
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.
Dancing and praying around bonfires, and in some areas burning rag man, which originally symbolized Judas Iscariot. Pagan and Religious tradition meet in this awesome celebration.
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.
Other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Perú, Bolivia and Cuba celebrate this date influenced by Spaniards, Portuguese and other European immigrants.
Text Info: Living Language Website Blog
Text Info: Spanish Unlimited Website