Night of San Juan 23 June 2023

The San Juan festival is a summertime moment bursting with joy and madness that you can’t afford to miss! This celebration corresponds with the summer solstice, the shortest night of the year, and is held in many countries, particularly in Spain…

From June 23rd to 24th, it is a magical and evocative night. The much-anticipated event coincides with the summer solstice. The traditional burning of the ‘júas’ on the beaches of Sabinillas illuminates the shortest night of the year. At midnight, many people take the opportunity to purify themselves, washing their feet and face in the sea water, while making three wishes; the most daring leap over the bonfire, others cast into the flames the written wishes on paper or the bad things they want to put an end to. It’s a night that wards off evil spirits and helps love to blossom.

It is celebrated on the Sabinillas promenade, with everyone gathering at 12 at night at the end of Manilva Avenue to see the burn, which surprises us every year with a different theme and very funny dolls.

Origin of the Night of San Juan

The feast of San Juan is associated with the biblical figure of Saint John the Baptist, but its origins are much older. The tradition of lighting a bonfire on the nights of June 23rd and 24th originates from pagan rites coinciding with the summer solstice. These pagan rites involved lighting a bonfire to give more power to the sun, which from that day on would lose strength until reaching the winter solstice.

As for the religious significance, it’s six months before the eve of Jesus’ birth, which is December 24th. These six months are the difference pointed out in the gospels between one birth and the other. However, the three-day difference between both dates and both solstices makes it unreasonable to assign this festival to the solstice.

Location: Sabinillas beach, 29692