On June 23 and 24, an effusive celebration takes place in which the birth of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated. They are very popular Christian church festivals around the world, such as Pillar. And many of them, like the one in Alicante, have been declared of international tourist interest. But how is San Juan celebrated?
The main protagonist is fire. In these festivities it is a custom to make and light bonfires that can reach meters in height, whose preparation is carried out days before, and which, according to tradition, have the power to purify.
Although, in some places, the fire serves to “extend life to the sun” and prolong its light, in reference to the fact that from these dates the summer solstice takes place, a period after which the days are shorter in duration. Until the arrival of the winter solstice.
The fire represents the destruction and elimination of everything that is considered bad, and therefore, during the lighting of the flame, letters, photos or objects that have brought bad memories are thrown into the fire.
The Feast of San Juan, is also known as the Nativity or Night of San Juan, and is a celebration that has been carried out for generations. There are places where they burn life-size dolls, which symbolize the transition from earthly life to spiritual life.
What do you need to celebrate San Juan?
- If you want to make a bonfire, take what you need!
- Prepare your rituals.
- Be careful with fireworks or firecrackers.
- Make sure you find the ideal place.
Instructions for celebrating San Juan
- There are three elements or symbols of San Juan: fire, of the bonfire, water, of the sea, and herbs that are the symbol of healing and remedy. In the Fiesta de San Juan it is common to find a central bonfire and the largest of all. But also, the people who attend can make their own bonfire. If you want to enjoy this process, here we will tell you how to do it.
- Making a campfire is not a very complicated task; it is enough to have the combustion materials at hand: (wood, coal, firewood, and tinder, lighter). You must have full responsibility when lighting the flame, in general, these festivities take place on the shores of the sea, whose waters represent purity and the arrival of good things. So it is advisable to make a hole large enough to put the materials to be burned inside. In this way you avoid, not only that your fire goes out, but also that there are not so many ash particles flying around as a result of the sea breeze.
- In places like Gelada, it is quite a ritual to prepare the materials to make the fire. In other localities it is customary that, during the search for firewood or wood, prayers are recited.
- Always remember not to leave any fire burning when you leave the place, the celebrations of San Juan are also held in parks or places near rivers, and it is very dangerous not to extinguish it once the celebration is over.
- Continuing with the above, if you are going to enjoy the Night of San Juan in a park, make sure that you can use combustion materials, many times these types of activities are prohibited.
- The Feast of San Juan is commemorated to celebrate the birth of the Saint, in this festivity; one of the most deeply rooted symbols in the community is to make writing with everything that we want to get rid of. As a list, we can enumerate those experiences, memories or situations that we want to forget, and burn them in the fire. This with the aim that everything written on paper is destroyed.
- Likewise, one of the most popular activities during the Fiesta de San Juan is taking a dip in the sea, or bathing in the water from a spring, since it is believed that, during the night of the Fiesta, it acquires healing properties. And healers. A common practice is to jump nine waves with your back to the sea, this, they say, increases fertility.
- We have mentioned before that one of the symbols of San Juan are aromatic herbs, with them you can prepare an infusion and drink it on the morning of the Feast day. Many also prefer to use it to wash their faces and thus get rid of negative energies.
- Another of the rituals that you can do with the campfire is to jump over it a certain number of times, usually seven or nine times. It is a purification ritual that serves to expel the bad and attract the good. It goes without saying that this could represent a situation to consider taking into account the danger it represents, but if you are going to do it, arm yourself with a good space, so there will be no worry that, when jumping, you will fall into someone else’s campfire.
- On the other hand, there is a practice that you can do at home if you don’t have the opportunity to go to the party. It consists of spilling the wax of a candle into a glass of water, this will cause figures in the water that will help you predict the future.
- Returning to what was previously said about fire; it is common for many people to light rockets or fireworks during this festival, with no other objective than to have fun. Fireworks must be handled with seriousness and caution, and even in the case of simple firecrackers or matches, it is advisable to do so with extreme responsibility. Take care that there are no minors nearby, and always away from other people. The burning of volatile products such as gunpowder is equally frequent. Be careful, and in these cases, do not bring pets.
- Imagine the surprise you would get if when you arrived at the beach you realized that there is no place for you and your family to sit. Although it seems somewhat unlikely, it is very certain that the beach may be crowded with people, or that they have grabbed that place that you had already “separated” from. In these cases, arriving early is the easiest solution if you don’t want to compete for a position.
- The celebration of the longest night of the year is not only held on the beach, since this is a party with a high tourist rate, it is assumed that the entire city is enjoying it. If you can’t go to the beach, you can go to the squares, where people will also burn huge figures made of cardboard, which have a slightly more satirical purpose.
Tips for celebrating San Juan
- Remember to put out the fire once the party is over.
- Enjoy responsibly: excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages is not necessary at this party.
- Share: This is a good place to meet more people.
- Even if you are not a believer in this celebration, it is a good time to be with friends.
- Never light campfires with flammable liquids.
- Do not leave waste or garbage on the beach: bags, plastics, food scraps. Contributes to environmental balance.