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Noche de San Juan 2025 in Spain

Bonfires and songs highlight the celebration of St. John's Eve and summer solstice in Spain

Dates: June 20–June 24

Noche de San Juan
Noche de San Juan
Noche de San Juan
Noche de San Juan
Noche de San Juan
Noche de San Juan

Similar to Danish Sankt Hans Aften and Goan Sao Joao festivals, Spaniards hold their own Saint John celebration, known as Fiesta de San Juan. Although dedicated to Saint John, a Biblical figure, its tradition dates all the way back to pagan times. It's celebrated on June 23rd, St. John's Eve, and the day of the summer solstice, June 24th. A symbol of the sun, fire plays a vital role in festival customs, one of which is the kindling of flames.

Festival Traditions

Because the holiday falls on the longest day of the year, locals try to make the most of the celebration with some of the pagan customs. The highlight of the night is the burning of wooden sculptures called hogueras, some of which can be considered true works of art. Residents crowd around the bonfires, meet for dance parties and community gatherings, and enjoy traditional foods. Some Spaniards traditionally jump into the water, especially in the coastal cities. The celebration is completed with a magnificent fireworks display.

The festival is celebrated all over Spain. But some of the most spectacular festivities are observed in the capital city of Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia, and Gran Canaria. Coastal cities boast the most scenic celebration, as the bonfires are set right on the beach, creating a majestic scenery of fiery sparks against the calm backdrop of the sea.

Fogueres de Sant Joan in Alicante (June 20-24, 2024)

One of the most vibrant celebrations of San Juan is annually held in the southeast of Spain, in Alicante, the coastal capital of Spain, with gorgeous beaches and energetic nightlife. If you've never been to Noche de San Juan, Alicante is a great place to start. The festivities begin on June 20th with preparation and bonfire building, as well as setting up of the wooden sculptures, remarkable due to their craftsmanship.

The highlight of Alicante's celebration is Entrada de Bandas, where hundreds of bands with women and men in traditional farm clothing participate in the signature procession throughout the city. Other notable traditions include floral offerings and a dance parade. The main bonfire burning takes place on the evening of June 24th and is followed by the fireworks display at Plaza de los Luceros. Fireworks are a huge part of Alicante's culture because the Fireworks Competition annually follows Noche de San Juan.

San Juan Fiesta in Madrid (June 23-24, 2024)

In Madrid, San Juan Fiesta is likewise colorful. The fire is brought specially from the sacred mountain in the Pyrenees, the peak of Canigó. Throughout the year, the flame is kept by the Catalans in Perpignan, and in June, it is passed to Madrid. Fire is lit in the Retiro park. When it almost burns out, residents step on the hot coals to purify themselves and cleanse their souls. Meanwhile, the rest of the locals lead roundelays and sing songs by the fire. The celebration in Retiro Park also promises tonnes of fun for children, with inflatables and yard games, as well as a thrilling outdoor bash coupled with DJ sets.

San Juan Celebration in Barcelona (June 23-24, 2024)

Catalonia cherishes the tradition of Noche de San Juan, known in the region as Revetlla de Sant Joan, with the locals filling up the beaches and hosting their own neighborhood parties. Similar to Madrid, the Canigó flame is passed down to the city authorities at Saint James's Square. From there, the officials travel through the streets of Barcelona, igniting the bonfires set up by the locals. Crowds gather annually to watch the pyrotechnic show, which serves as a culmination of the shortest night of the year.

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