The country celebrates by lighting beach bonfires up and down the coast.

In Spain, San Juan's day eve means a lot of bonfires.

The holiday is celebrated throughout the country. But the most popular celebrations take place in Alicante, Galicia and Catalonia, where people gather together to throw unwanted wooden objects and dolls (traditionally representing Judas Iscariot but nowadays, usually infamous national figures) into bonfires. According to tradition, if one jumps over the bonfire three times, their souls are cleansed.

Participants traditionally wash their faces and feet in the ocean three times after midnight in order to be granted three wishes and a happy ensuing twelve months.

Preparation for the holiday begins on June 19, and culminates with fireworks after midnight on the 24th. Below, via Reuters, scenes from Spain:

People hold a trunk with a "jua" (or doll) to be set on fire on a beach on San Juan's (or Saint John's) night, which traditionally is the shortest night of the year, in the southern Spanish town of Malaga, late June 23, 2013. On San Juan's night, people burn objects they no longer want and make wishes as they jump through flames or swim in the sea. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)
People watch as the effigy of a witch is burnt in a San Juan bonfire at the Basque port town of Mundaka June 24, 2013. Fires made of unwanted furniture, old school books, wood and effigies of malign spirits are lit across Spain to celebrate the night of San Juan, a purification ceremony coinciding with the summer solstice. (REUTERS/Vincent West)
People attend a party held during the night of the San Juan bonfire on the beach of Playa de Poniente in Gijon June 24, 2013. Fires formed by burning unwanted furniture, old school books, wood and effigies of malign spirits are seen across Spain as people celebrate the night of San Juan, a purification ceremony coinciding with the summer solstice. (REUTERS/Eloy Alonso)
A full moon also referred to as a "super moon" rises over the San Juan bonfire on the beach of Playa de Poniente in Gijon June 24, 2013. Fires formed by burning unwanted furniture, old school books, wood and effigies of malign spirits are seen across Spain as people celebrate the night of San Juan, a purification ceremony coinciding with the summer solstice. (REUTERS/Eloy Alonso)
A man watches fireworks as he takes a bath in the Mediterranean Sea on San Juan's (or Saint John's) night, which traditionally is the shortest night of the year, in the southern Spanish town of Malaga, early June 24, 2013. On San Juan's night, people burn objects they no longer want and make wishes as they jump through flames or swim in the sea. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  2. Design

    How 'Maintainers,' Not 'Innovators,' Make the World Turn

    We need more stories about the labor that sustains society, a group of scholars say.

  3. A man walks by an abandoned home in Youngstown, Ohio
    Life

    How Some Shrinking Cities Are Still Prospering

    A study finds that some shrinking cities are prosperous areas with smaller, more-educated populations. But they also have greater levels of income inequality.

  4. A map of apartment searches in the U.S.
    Maps

    Where America’s Renters Want to Move Next

    A new report that tracks apartment searches between U.S. cities reveals the moving aspirations of a certain set of renters.

  5. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

×