La Noche de San Juan: The Night of Fire

San Juan is a festival celebrated on June 23rd, a magical night that welcomes the summer season.  The celebration takes place during the shortest night of the year; the summer solstice. It is a celebration that is usually held on the beach with roaring bonfires, drinks, food and friends. Legends, tradition and magical rituals are connected by a common elements: fire and water.

Some mystical people believe that on this magical night paranormal events can occur because ancient pagan gods get closer to humans. For this reason many magical rituals are celebrated. Young people jump over fires which, according to legend, gives more strength to the sun, which loses hours of light during the summer.

It is also a night full of Superstition. If you want to be lucky for the next 12 months you may want to:

  • Jump over a bonfire.
  • Burn a piece of paper with your lovers name on it.
  • Burn something old and personal to leave behind bad spirits from the past and start a new phase.
  • Swimming in the ocean after midnight purifies soul and body.
  • Fountains and natural water resources become magic and have healing properties.


Every region in Spain has different local traditions, however all of them are related to fire and water.

Dancing and praying around bonfires, and in some areas burning rag man, which originally symbolized Judas Iscariot.  Pagan and Religious tradition meet in this awesome celebration.

Other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Perú, Bolívia and Cuba celebrate this date influenced by Spaniards, Portuguese and other European immigrants.

Pictures by Conchita Claro.