The Bonfires of Saint John

The Bonfires of Saint John

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This festival comes from ancient times, when humans used the Sun to guide them. Our ancestors believed that the Sun was in love with the Earth and they actually thought that the Sun refused to leave the Earth. They realised that at some point in the year the king star lost its strength and days became shorter. Since they were frightened of ending up in the darkness, people started performing rituals on the last night of spring, as this is the longest day of the year.

On that night we also celebrate that the brightest season of the year is starting. The summer solstice means the arrival of the Sun. This new season brings not only light but also the good weather, meaning warmth and also a good time to grow fruit and vegetables.

Every year, on the 23rd June, the superstitious people, and also the ones who love partying, spend the night on the beach and make the most of this magic night. Loads of bonfires light up the Spanish coasts and we all have an excuse to have dinner by the fire with our family and friends. But this is not all! During this magic night there are some rituals that continue to be celebrated today.

Water has always been very important for human beings and it still has a very important role on this night. At 12am people go to the seashore and jump the waves. If you come from the north of Spain you will jump the first nine waves, while if you come from Valencia, the magic number is seven. Jumping the waves apparently gets rid of all your negative energy.

Taking a bath after midnight ensures health for the rest of the year. In Andalucía people wash their faces after midnight to keep healthy and pretty for the rest of the year. And what it is more; the legend also says that on this night water increases female fertility.

People get rid of all the old things they don’t need any more and throw them in the fire. The fire will also protect anyone who is brave enough to jump over the bonfire. And another tale is that the ashes of the bonfire will heal illness.

So that’s it! Forget about all your negative thoughts and have fun tomorrow night.  This festival is all about happiness and freedom. You have been working very hard all year long, so now it is time to celebrate your achievements and get rid of everything that stops you sleeping well at night.

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