The night of San Juan marks the beginning of summer and in Spain, there is a long list of traditions associated with this date depending on each city or region.
A deep-rooted festival
Although summer will officially start from next Friday, June 21st, for many Spaniards it will not be summer until the night of the 23rd. When the sun sets next Sunday, the traditional celebrations of the night of San Juan will begin throughout the Spain. But although the essence of the party is the same, in each region of the country it is celebrated in a different way. Bonfires, swimming at midnight, dinners on the beach, concerts ... The night of San Juan has inspired the most diverse but, in all cases, fascinating customs.
San Juan is an essentially Mediterranean celebration and, therefore, in Valencia it takes on one of its most multitudinous and, by no means small, magical faces. Tradition has it that throughout the afternoon of June 23rd, people start coming to the beaches of the city to prepare for the bonfires. The culminating moment of the day arrives at midnight. It is customary for everyone present to come to the beach and jump on the seven waves. In parallel, the more daring do the same with the bonfires, a practice that requires a certain concentration and caution so that the night does not end as a bitter experience. The celebrations take place thereafter.
Etxebarria Park is the nerve centre of the celebrations of San Juan in Bilbao. In the middle of the afternoon, concerts and the endless traditions associated with this day begin. It is worth bearing in mind that there are many customs that come together not only in Bilbao but in the rest of Vizcaya. For example, many people in Bilbao burn something old in the bonfires as a way of looking forward to the future. Others, on the other hand, prefer to jump over the nine rings of fire when the clock strikes midnight.
Celebrations in Barcelona start earlier than in Valencia. Throughout the day, the stoves of the city prepare the emblematic cocas of San Juan, sweets that are consumed both at home with family and friends on the beach. In any case, the central act of the day is the Flame of Canigó. Around 18:00, the torch known as the Canigó Flame makes its triumphal entry into the square and, soon after, it is transported to other points of the city to light up the dozens of prepared bonfires. This torch will also travel to other towns through an extensive and unique tour of the Catalan regions.