Festival of San Juan Date: June 20
Festival of San Juan is celebrated by Spain as a public holiday.
To celebrate the arrival of Summer the Spanish people do what they do best and have a festival. San Juan usually takes place between the 20th of June and the 24th to coincide with the shortest night of the year where the light of day out weighs the darkness of the night.
Festival of San Juan History
There are different variations of how Spain’s different provinces and towns celebrate the Festival of San Juan however they all include light, fire and water. Bonfires are prepared during the day along the beaches,in the country and towns, then lit and left to burn all night in honour of the light of the summer. According to old traditions of San Juan many people cleanse their soul by jumping over the bonfire three times, others swim in the sea at midnight to wash away evil and gain ever lasting beauty, the Spanish believe swimming at this time also helps with ailments, many woman make up perfumed water from several plants to bathe in.
Festival of San Juan Traditions and Activities
Large cardboard statues are made well in advance and judged on there creativity and in some cities the most unique are displayed in a local museum for rest of the year.
Originally the statues made for this festival were different variations based on Judas Iscariot but nowadays the festival bares no association with religion. The whole of Spain is lit up on the night of San Juan and many beach parties are organised. Eating sardines and bread is another tradition of this festival and many local delicacies are offered from stalls set up in towns, villages and on the beaches. Music and entertainment play a big part in the celebrations and the streets are lined with musicians, fairs and games.
The night of San Juan remains a magical night in all of the Northern Hemisphere. Mythology states that strange occurrences can happen and certain pagan gods show themselves. San Juan Festival in Spain is all about change, the Spanish believe fire purifies and water refreshes and rejuvenates. Tradition states that the Spanish people only used to visit the beach on the day of San Juan.