La noche de San Juan in Malaga
Are you in Malaga tomorrow evening? Then you’re lucky! The evening of the 23rd of June to the 24th of June are important dates in whole Spain. The inhabitants of Spain gather at the beach and celebrate the birth of San Juan in a special, magical and typical Spanish way. So who is San Juan it exactly? And how should you celebrate it?
Where does this celebration come from?
On the evening of the 23rd of June to the 24th of June, the birth of the saint San Juan is celebrated, which is exactly 6 months before Christmas Eve and thus the birth of Jesus. Besides this, the summer has returned and that as well needs to be celebrated. To honour the birth of San Juan together with the fact that the summer has returned, people go to the beach in the evening and celebrate it widely.
There will be a pechá of people gathering at the beaches of Malaga. However not only in Malaga can you encounter the celebration of San Juan. Every place, city or village has its’ own way of celebrating and most places have terrific firework shows.
During the evening (and night) of San Juan, fire and water are the two central things. Both fire and water refer to purification. They used to say that the fire would sent more strength to the sun for the summer, since the strength of the sun will only lower day by day from now on.
How to celebrate San Juan in Malaga?
In Malaga, everybody gathers at the beach with their friends and relatives and prepares for a spectacular evening and night. In order to have a successful and unforgettable night the following things are needed: wood to make a bonfire, wishes written on paper to be burned, good music and a big amount of food.
When entering the beach everybody starts making bonfires. The massive amount of bonfires will provide a spectacular and enchanting view. Every group will be eating tasty food with their friends and family, listening to music, dancing, having fun and talk all night. There will be a delightful and captivating atmosphere which you will love from the beginning on.
Besides eating, dancing and talking with those you care about, there are several traditions and rituals connected to the festivity of San Juan which people follow every year. These traditions were set years ago when the people were a little bit more superstitious. Nowadays they still follow them, but the reasons for doing so is more having fun and pleasant evening rather than the religious meaning behind it.
First of all, if you want to scare away the bad ghosts, you need to jump over the bonfires. It is a dangerous activity and only the real daredevils (or the crazy ones… just how you interpret it!) take the chance. Luckily it all takes place are on the beach, close to the sea.
To join another tradition you need to prepare yourself by wearing your bathing suit! At 12 o’clock, when it is official the 24th of June and the birthday of San Juan, almost all people dive into the water. Legend says that when you bathe in the sea during this night you will have a healthy year and you will be beautiful your whole life. Well, why not give it a shot? Make sure you bring a sweater for afterwards because it might be cold!
Lastly you need to use those papers on which you wrote your wishes which you brought with you. Together with the people you made the bonfire you throw your wishes into the fire. This ritual refers to a new start and a release from the past.