Burning for San Juan

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TOMORROW NIGHT, Friday June 23, is the night when hordes of Spanish people head for the beaches of the Costa Blanca for the annual San Juan fiesta.

The night festival celebrates the summer solstice, which remains a magical night in much of the northern hemisphere.

Mythology states that strange things can occur on this shortest night of the year, when allegedly, certain pagan gods are known to make themselves visible during the darkness of night.

For Valencianos, the magical night of San Juan is about night and day, fire and water as the fire purifies and water recuperates, refreshes, and rejuvenates

On the beaches, bonfires are the theme of the night, with most local town halls allowing men and women, young people and children to spend time building these bonfires.

According to tradition, if people jump over a bonfire three times on San Juan’s night, they will be cleansed and purified, and their problems burned away.

At midnight, after jumping the bonfires three times, the revellers wash their faces and feet three times in order to be granted three wishes and for a happy twelve months thereafter.

Swimming in the sea at this time is also said to be beneficial for skin complaints and as summer traditionally begins now, the Spanish did not visit the beach until this day in each year.

The sight of hundreds and even thousands of people wandering into the water after midnight with the haze of bonfires everywhere is for many people the highlight of a Spanish summer.

To experience a more organised fiesta, some municiplaities lay on entertainment in the form of bands and Dj’s with food and drink stalls on hand to quench the thirst and keep the hordes refreshed.

Albir beach, Benidorm Levante beach and the small beach at La Cala de Finestrat hold some of the biggest and most elaborate parties.

So, if you are in the mood to celebrate the beginning of Summer, pack yourselves a picnic, take some blankets and towels,get yourselves down to the beach around 22.00h and join in the fun, which this year in our hotter than hot Summer, should see perfect weather conditions.

 

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