SPAIN is gearing up for a magical night of celebration for the San Juan beach bonfire fiesta tonight (Thursday June 23).
Each year, thousands of people take to the beaches all along the Spanish coasts for the event, which marks the shortest night of the year and the summer solstice with magical celebrations focused on fire, water and purifying the soul.
There are many traditions and superstitions surrounding the night of San Juan. Legend has it that if someone jumps through the fire three times then plunges themselves into the sea their soul will be cleansed, a belief which often leads to more cleansing of burns and wounds than souls when young enthusiasm and alcohol combine!
More sensible superstitions include walking into the sea backwards at the stroke of midnight to attract a year’s worth of good luck, while some insist that a swim at midnight (or at least wetting your face if the water’s too cold) will lead to waking up more beautiful the following day.
The bonfires, apart from providing light and warmth for night-long parties, are also believed to be magical tonight and tradition has it that throwing objects which bring bad memories or lists of fears or people one wishing to be removed from their lives into the flames will have the desired effect.
To join in with the fun, all you need to do is head for the beach tonight as the sun sets. Whether or not you partake in any of the different traditions or just sit and watch the bonfires and fireworks is entirely up to you, but remember to take a jacket as it can get chilly on the way home later and it’s probably a good idea to do your shopping today or check whether your local stores are open tomorrow as Friday 24, St John the Baptist’s day, is a public holiday in areas where he is the patron saint.