Noche de San Juan en Almería España
The Spanish… siempre buscando las fiestas
If you like parties and passing a good time, then Spain is a place for you. Spanish people are notorious for their late night dinners and festivities. In fact, here in Spain, an early dinner is around 9:30-10 pm (21:30-22:00). Spaniards usually take a few hours to recover from their afternoon siestas then head to the taperías averaging around 10 (22).
Of things that Spaniards love most, is their sun. Sunny days in a Spanish summer are many, but well-cherished. So anything associated with the coming of warm weather and sunny days is traditionally welcomed with arms wide open.
While currently traveling through Spain, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the festival of Saint John, or Noche de San Juan, which is one of the Spaniards favorites as it coincides directly with the summer solstice. Thus, signifying the official arrival of the Summer. The festival I attended was in Almería Spain.
The tradition of noche de San Juan is a festival that is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition. The night celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. It is believed by some that he was born roughly half of a year preceding the birth of Jesus, which Catholics celebrate in December about six months later. The festival is usually celebrated around June 24th, and celebrations are worldwide from Estonia to Brazil and obviously Spain. The festivities are most widely practiced in European countries and the Americas. It is customary to celebrate the event on the eve of Día de San Juan at midnight.
How it is celebrated
The festival in Spain is celebrated predominately by the people living on the coast. As I was told by many locals, the best place to be is on the coast for the noche de San Juan. The way that the festival is celebrated changes a bit depending on the country. In Spain, the major elements for the locals are barn fires, the ocean, food, and fireworks.
The people typically arrive at the sea in the afternoon and begin barbecuing and playing games while the sun is going down. People set up tents and picnics for families. There is some resemblance to the way that Americans celebrate the 4th of July on the coast. I was fortunate because although I did not have a tent, I was staying at Urbany Hostel. A hostel near the beach, so when I wanted to walk back I could just slip back for a moment and relax or get something.
In the late afternoon the people build large piles of wood and miscellaneous objects which will be used for the barn fires. During the night, families and friends will share food and drinks together while midnight approaches. At midnight, the fires are light and people traditionally take a dive into the ocean. The ocean swim at midnight can be very symbolic. Many associate the ocean (i.e. water) as cleansing and renewal , much in the same way that it is used in Baptisms for Catholics. As the fires burn hot and people bath in the ocean it is typical to see fireworks lighting the night sky.
It is fair to say that each coastal town in Spain may have a different variation of the tradition, but it tends to revolve around these elements.
Have you celebrate noche de San Juan en España before?
**Tags: Noche de San Juan España, noche de san juan almeria españa, spain festival of san juan, night of saint john in almeria**