Today is the shortest night of the year. Our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem, tells you about the history and customs of the night of San Juan in Valencia. Take a look to find out more! 🙂

San Juan is one of the most important festivities in the Valencian calendar. If this is the first time you spend the night of San Juan in Valencia, this small article will be useful for you.

The night of San Juan is the shortest night of the year and is celebrated on the night of the 23rd to the 24th of June.
As we always tell our Spanish course students, it is important to learn the language, but also to get to know the local culture and traditions.

And San Juan is, without a doubt, one of the most popular fiestas in the Valencian Community… especially among young people 😊.

A bit of history…

The festivity of San Juan has a pagan origin, dating back to the Celtic celebration of Litha. A ritual with which the Celts celebrated the summer solstice by lighting bonfires in order to increase the strength of the sun.

Later, Christianity made this festival its own, turning it into St. John’s Day. In fact, the Bible tells us that Saint John the Baptist was born on 24 June and that his father celebrated the event by lighting a bonfire.

In Valencia, it is typical to light a bonfire on the beach (Malvarrosa and Cabañal) and follow a series of rituals for good luck.
After two years without celebrations due to the pandemic, the beaches of Valencia are once again filled with people, bonfires, music and a lot of joy.

Having analysed the most typical customs of this magical night, we have to say that the most important rituals are the following:

1) Jumping the bonfire for good luck. As usual, the Valencia City Council will hand out firewood for the bonfires at different points along the Paseo Marítimo (between 16.30 and 18.30h).
Once lit, you will have to wait until 24h to jump over the bonfire 7 times…

2) A swim on the beach ensures good health all year round. In addition, also at midnight, jump 7 waves with your back to the sea to eliminate negative energy and make a wish.

And for the return home, Metrovalencia will offer a special metro and tram service (from 9pm until 7am tomorrow), increasing the frequency of some lines, such as 4 and 6.

We hope you follow our advice and that the magic of San Juan brings luck to all of you 😊.

Lastly, our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem, wishes you a happy Midsummer’s Day in Valencia, learning about the local culture and practising your Spanish.

¡Hasta pronto!