As you’re reading this, we’ll be just in New York, ready to start our adventure. But today, I wanted to share with you the fantastic festival of San Juan that we celebrated this June 2019 in Benidorm. So, a couple of weeks ago, we had the great pleasure of spending San Juan in Benidorm once again. The San Juan Fiesta, dedicated to Saint John, is a pagan festival celebrated on June 23rd to celebrate the summer solstice. The main element of the festival is fire, a symbol of the sun. Accompanied by bonfires, fireworks and barbecues, it’s a fantastic, fiery fiesta.
The festival is celebrated all across Spain, but the most spectacular festivities are held in Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia and Gran Canaria. So, if you’re looking to head over to Benidorm in 2020, check out the dates surrounding San Juan.
The San Juan festivities kicks off with an 8am wake up call for everybody. With a brass band and bangers going off, it’s impossible to sleep through. It’s San Juan and everybody must know about it. It’s a scary time for animals at this time, we saw cats running for shelter and Rio was concerned for us and kept jumping into bed. If you are over for San Juan, keep a close eye on your animals at this time.
We started off our celebrations by having a traditional picnic on the beach. Families gather across Poniente beach and Finestrat beach with snacks, candles and a ready prepared mini fire. Most people congregate and celebrate together, you’ll find families merging together with friends joined on huge tables with the children playing together on the beach.
Later, it’s party time over in Finestrat. We headed over to La Cala to watch plenty of live bands partying until the sun comes up, though we were ready to go by about 2, that was late enough by my standards! At exactly midnight, tens and hundreds of people will run into the sea and have a midnight swim.
The following day, the Monday, was a bank holiday this year so we were able to head out and see the celebrations in the day. Both the Sunday and the Mondays were filled with parades and brass bands marching the streets. But, it was the Monday night when the magic truly came to life.
At 11pm, the hogueras for the children was lit on Poniente beach. With a smaller fire, once it was starting to burn out, the children started to jump the hot coals and fire in order to purify themselves and rid them of any problems from the previous and forthcoming year. At midnight, that was when the hogueras was lit for real. Sprinkling the fireworks on the statue, once set alight the sky came to life. Fireworks exploded from all corners of the statues face and lit up the Poniente beach. The firefighters did a great job of keeping the smoke and fire from setting alight to the palm trees above by splashing water to control the fire. Once the 5 minute fireworks were finished, we all started to head back.
Here’s a video of San Juan 2019 with the fireworks and the hogueras being burnt.
San Juan is a great festival and one of my favourites. Picnics and fireworks actually being at night as opposed to the daytime fireworks, which I hate. I don’t appreciate the 8am wake up call on the morning of San Juan from the brass band and bangers though!
Have you celebrated?