The Night of San Juan
¡Musica! ¡Fuega! ¡La Playa! ¡Baile!
My yelling of random Spanish words can be one two things. I’m either helping Pitbull with his new single or describing my night in Malaga last weekend.
Around 4PM on June 23rd, a few of us students headed to the bus station prepared for a 3-hour bus ride to Malaga. There, we would celebrate the Night of San Juan. Each year, on June 24th, “we mere humans give thanks [to certain Pagan gods] and realize that the seasons of harder times are about to come”. While I’m pretty sure not everyone in our group understood the specific significance and goal of this night, we did pick up on some of its themes. Andalucia’s website explained, “It is about night to day; it is about fire to water. Fire purifies and water recuperates, refreshes, and rejuvenates.” Some of the activities we enjoyed that night tied into this idea perfectly.
Upon arrival, we immediately dropped our bags off at a nearby hostel and headed to tapas. Sidenote: I am really going to miss tapas when I am back in America.
Now guys, I usually would not blog about the fact that I ate, but this restaurant we went to was quite fantastic. At, 100 Montaditos, there are 100 options of little sandwiches you could choose from (including chocolate bread on the sandwich deserts). Usually one person will order 2 – 4. Maybe even more. Would you like to know why? Because everything cost ONE EURO! Including their sizable beers and tintos (a wine juice). My description cannot fully encompass how exciting this place is, but my friends and I highly recommend it to any visitors.
After tapas, we spent some time relaxing by the beach. From that point on our trip was absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I have ever seen the moon so close except for in Bruce Almighty when Jim Carrey tries to impress Jennifer Aniston. To make the night even better, hundred of people were lifting lanterns into the air to completely light up the sky.
At almost midnight, we enjoyed a concert from some artist I wish I knew because he did a good job keeping the party going. Tradition says that come midnight, one needs to wash their face and feet three times to be granted three wishes and to have a happy following year. Who are we to defy tradition?! With our swimsuits on, we ran into the Mediterranean Sea at midnight, though to be honest I don’t think the girls cleaned their faces there for sanitary and anti-salt-face reasons.
The next tradition of the night was bonfire jumping. It is thought “if people jump over a bonfire three times on San Juan’s night, they will be cleansed and purified, and their problems burned away.” First, we wrote down things about our lives we wanted to rid of and threw them in the fire to see the negativity burn away. Then, we jumped over fire [videos to come]. I cannot even begin to explain how real the fear was – speaking for myself at least – but I am so glad I had the chance to experience this cultural and traditional moments with my friends and the Spanish locals.
Finally, we joined in on the tradition of hanging beachside, sipping sangrias/beers/mimosas/water.
All quotations and traditional information from http://www.andalucia.com/festival/sanjuan.htm.