23 June is the longest day of the Gregorian calendar and has (of course) the shortest night. This is also celebrated in Spain, where the Catalans and Valencians top everyone. This party is called the Night of San Juan. There are a lot of bonfires at the beaches, people eat, drink, dance and celebrate this night to together on the 24th.
Origin of the night of San Juan
When the sun sets on June 23th, Saint John’s (San Juan) eve is celebrated. The Feast of Saint John is celebrated on the 24th of June, with bonfires and partying, this is also referred to as Midsummer in the Northern hemisphere.
The myth is that a lot of strange things can occur on the shortest night of the year. Pagan gods, for example, would show up during the night. During the night of San Juan people will show their gratitude and show the realization that ‘heavier seasons’ are coming. During the night of San Juan, everything revolves around change. The passing of day and night, fire and water. The fire purifies and the water restores, refreshes and rejuvenates.
The night of San Juan Valencia
The night of San Juan Valencia will be celebrated exuberantly. People come together, talk, eat, dance, laugh and make music with each other, friends, but also strangers. Bonfires are made, people barbecue together and they drink together. In Valencia these activities take place on different beaches. The most famous beaches are Playa las Arenas, Playa Patacona and Playa Malvarosa.
This year the night of San Juan is celebrated on Sunday the 24th of June and the spectacle will take place in the night of the 24th/25th. In the end of the afternoon wood will be gathered together and will be built up into one big pile, which of course will be put into flames a few hours later.
The night of San Juan Alicante
This special night will also be celebrated in Alicante, even more exuberant than in Valencia. There will be parades, fireworks shows, flower offerings and just like in Valencia there will be bonfires. We definitely recommend you to go there if you’re around!