Saint John´s Eve

On the night of June 23rd, many towns and villages across Spain celebrate Saint John´s Eve. It´s the Christian version of the summer solstice celebration in the northern hemisphere, and like many other ancestral festivals, involves fire as its crucial element.

outdoor fireplace during nighttime

I personally haven´t had the pleasure of enjoying a big bonfire celebration at the beach (my hometown doesn´t officially celebrate St. John, and also we´re not close to the seaside), although I do remember getting together with friends to mark that night in our own way… One year we even had a queimada with its incantation spell and everything, thanks to Víctor, our Galician mate :-)

Of course, we had our own mini version of the bonfire, improvised in a bowl or an ashtray, over which we jumped three times in order to attract good luck. And in that mini bonfire, we used to burn a piece of paper, which if I remember correctly, had three things written on it: something we were grateful for, something we no longer wanted in our life, and something we did want to happen to us or receive.

It was a magic night, full of possibilities.

I always liked the idea of taking this opportunity to reflect a little on our life: evaluate where we are, decide what we want, and perform a ritual so that we can feel the magic of change. The thing is that sometimes we forget that this magic is not only in the “universe”, in that abstract concept at which we throw all our wishes… this magic is also inside of us, because we are the centre of our own universe. So writing down our wishes as one writes a letter to Santa is not enough, we also need to do our part for the whole thing to work :-) 

This year I suggest that you do a little extra reflecting in front of the bonfire, and write down four things instead of three: something you are grateful for, something you no longer want in your life, something you do want to happen to you or receive, and something you´re going to start doing now to contribute to your desired change.

2 thoughts on "Noche de San Juan"

  1. Qué buenos reuniones por San Juan (aunque a mí siempre me tocara currar porrón esos días de Junio en Dublín). Recuerdo San Juan y las castañadas de octubre….. :_)

  2. San Juan es el patrón de mi pueblo (mi padre se llama Juan por eso), y son las primeras fiestas que tenemos en el año. Y las recuerdo intimas (todavía no han llegado los emigrantes de vacaciones), geniales (hemos acabado las clases justo ese día o un par de días antes) y frías. En mi pueblo hace frío todavía, y bañarse (aunque ha cambiado los últimos años, hace más calor) es una aventura de locos, o de niños con ganas de verano. Y la hoguera. Todo el pueblo alrededor de la enorme hoguera, hecha de todo tipo de maderas y restos depositados en la Ribera durante el año. Y la “carroceta” (una especie de coche de bomberos todoterreno) de ICONA, al lado, por si se nos va de madre.
    Con los años he dejado de ir (coincide con las fiestas del pueblo de Blanca, y además, ahora, con la pandemia…), y me contento con verlas en video por facebook.

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