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The exquisite celebration of San Juan

Credit: Flickr / Ian Carroll / CC BY 2.0

Festivals in Spain are all about celebrations, food and having a gala time with friends. The festival calendar in Malaga is jam-packed throughout the year, and each festival is celebrated with equal zest and enthusiasm.

The festival of San Juan is one such magical experience, where strange and extraordinary things are said to happen. It is celebrated during Midsummer when the day has the shortest night. According to traditional beliefs, witches and supernatural beings roam freely on this night. It is also believed that certain gods appear on the earth to bless the people.
But the main theme of the night is the huge bonfires. Men and women equally take part to build a roaring bonfire at night. These bonfires are built to ward off evil spirits that may harm the people. Things like wood, old furniture, papers are used to make these bonfires and people jump over it, a practice which is believed to be soul-cleansing. Special parties are arranged along the beaches and delicacies are made for the occasion.

Another strange ritual of washing one's faces and feet three times is practised after midnight, in order to get blessed with three wishes for the next year. Dolls and effigies are also burned as a symbol of burning the Judas Iscariot, who according to the New Testament had betrayed Jesus.

So if you are planning to visit the coastal city of Malaga around the month of June, make sure to attend the San Juan’s festival, which is a sublime mix of traditions and popular culture.

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