MIDSUMMER’S Eve, Night of San Juan or St. John’s Night festival on the night of June 23 sees thousands of Malaga’s residents flock to the beaches to celebrate the arrival of summer.

This ancient Celtic tradition dictates that festival goers gather on the city’s beaches around a bonfire to celebrate the beginning of summer and ward off evil spirits and usually involves partying on the sand and enjoying Malaga’s typical espetos (sardines grilled on a cane skewer over the heat of an open wood fire) until well into the morning.

The Malagueta beach is one of the most popular for this celebration, where a large stage is set up for live concerts, in addition this year will see 11 minutes of fireworks.

Due to the popularity of the evening, it is advisable to arrive early to get a good spot. Other beaches such as Misericordia, Pedregalejo or El Palo also have a great atmosphere during the night.

If you want to get out of the capital, you can attend the Noche de San Juan on numerous beaches along the Malaga coast. Some of the most popular ones are in Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Marbella, Torrox, Rincon de la Victoria and Fuengirola.

Curiosities about the Night of San Juan in Malaga

Bathing at midnight: Swimming in the sea is part of the ritual too. According to legend, it transmits positive energy to face the summer. Water and the sea are also associated with purification and fertility.

Clothing: Many of the attendees wear white clothes as a symbol of purity and cleansing of the negative energy of the past.

Bonfires: Traditionally, huge bonfires were lit on the beach with the bravest jump over them, however in recent years bonfires are expressly prohibited directly on the sand.

The ‘Júas’: These are dolls made of rags that are filled with sawdust and paper. When midnight comes, they are burnt in the bonfires.


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