La Noche de San Juan Benidorm 2019

The San Juan festivities kicks off with an 8am wake up call for everybody.

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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.

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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.

san juan 2019 picnic on the beach

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.

san juan festival finestrat 2019

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.

firework night benidorm spain 2019

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?

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National Bank Holidays – December

If you’re looking for December fiesta dates and the National Bank Holidays, then you’ve come to the right place.

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What did I tell you? Spain loves a fiesta. The October and November dates are here, but if you’re looking for December fiesta dates and the National Bank Holidays, then you’ve come to the right place.

There are three National Holidays that affect Benidorm in December and a few other holidays.

Constitution Day

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Constitution Day, this year, is Thursday 6th December 2018.

Constitution Day, Día de la Constitución celebrates the anniversary of the referendum held in Spain on December 6, 1978. In this referendum, a new constitution was approved. This marked an important move in Spain’s transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy.

It is a Public Holiday in 58 regions of Spain, where it is a day off for the general public. Most schools and businesses will close. This year, it falls on a Thursday.

Some businesses and organisations may close. Most shops will close, however, bars, restaurants, privately owned shops, bakeries and hotels will be open as normal. The public transport usually runs on a reduced timetable.

If October 6 falls on a Sunday, the public holiday is usually moved to a different day. Sometimes, when it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, like this year, some businesses, not all, will take the opportunity to have a long weekend and close on Monday or Friday as well.

Wondering what happens on Constitution Day? Well, not a lot! A few days prior, children and young people have additional classes on the history, politics and constitution of Spain.

Some high school students will read the Constitution in the parliamentary building in Madrid. A cocktail party is usually held for the members of parliament.

Constitution Day is a quiet day off work. It is spent at home relaxing with members of the family. Most people will wander out as a family for coffee in the morning and most will have a large family dinner at home.

The physical representation of Constitution Day is the displaying of the national flag. Usually, it will have a large presence on homes, public buildings and public transport. It is usually waving with pride next to the European Union flag and local flags, such as the Comunidad Valenciana flag.

Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception, this year, is Saturday 8th December 2018.

I always wondered what this day was for.

Many Christian communities around the world will celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This is a holy day where many Christians, particularly Catholics, will attend a number of special church services.

Many believe this day refers to Jesus’ conception, but it doesn’t. It celebrates the conception of Mary.

Immaculate Conception is a quiet day off work. It is spent at home relaxing with members of the family. Most people will wander out as a family for coffee in the morning and most will have a large family dinner at home.  This year, it falls on a Saturday so many people had the “Puente” in November instead. Many businesses will remain open. 

If October 8 falls on a Sunday, the public holiday is usually moved to a different day. Sometimes, when it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, like this year, some businesses, not all, will take the opportunity to have a long weekend and close on Monday or Friday as well.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is celebrated in Spain and some businesses will choose to close. However, Christmas Eve is not a public holiday, therefore, many will remain open to make the most of the busy period.

This year, Christmas Eve falls on a Monday. I would recommend heading down to Christmas Square at the Town Hall, or around the bars for Christmas Eve. There are plenty of galas and events on too. Benidorm Palace is a great place to spend Christmas Eve for their Gala Dinner and Show.

Christmas Day

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Many bars and restaurants will be open on Christmas Day. Lots of bars will have their own Christmas Dinner open to the public, however, you will need to book in advance.

Please remember, lots of businesses are spending time opening their bars and restaurants to spend it with the general public, sometimes instead of their own families. Please be extra kind to them on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day this year falls on a Tuesday.

There is a misconception that Spain does not celebrate Christmas and only celebrate King’s Day. This is incorrect. The majority of children are far more excited for Christmas than they are on King’s Day.

Most children will get their presents on Christmas and a smaller gift on King’s Day. Usually, something that represents The Three Kings.

In previous years, King’s Day used to be far bigger than Christmas. However, in recent years, this has shifted.

Feast of the Holy Family

This is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday 30th December and businesses will operate normal Sunday hours. It is just a celebratory day.

New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest celebrations in Benidorm. Here, we mark the English New Year and the Spanish New Year, which means double the celebrations.

New Year’s Eve celebrates the last day of the Gregorian Calendar. This year, December 31st falls on a Monday.

It is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours. The parties will carry on long into the morning. There will be plenty of bars and restaurants offering their own gala New Year’s Eve menus and parties which I’d definitely recommend going to. They are much better and safer than nightclubs and the strip.

Hotels will also offer gala menus and parties for their guests. Usually, you’ll be gifted a goodie bag of things to celebrate with, such as masks and party poppers. There are many customs and beliefs for New Year’s Eve in Spain, which I’ll cover in a later blog post.

Epiphany

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Epiphany is known as King’s Day. Epiphany is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. Epiphany celebrates the three wise men, or kings, coming to visit Jesus.

In 2019 it is on a Sunday. Therefore, some businesses may choose to follow Sunday opening hours.

There are plenty of activities that go on during Epiphany and popular customs that I will cover in a later blog post.

Are you here for the festivals?

Hasta luego,

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