The Eve of St. John’s or the Night of San Juan is a Christian holiday, but it coincides with other holidays of pagan origin (Litha) held on June 21st (solstice), where bonfires are usually lit connecting the celebrations with the arrival of the summer solstice which is celebrated on 21st of June in the northern hemisphere, and whose main ritual is to light a bonfire.
The purpose of this rite was “giving more power to the sun”, which from this day onwards becomes more “weak” -the days are getting shorter until the winter-solstice. Symbolically fire also has a “purifying” function in people who look into its flames. It is celebrated in many parts of Europe, but is particularly strong in Spain and in the Province of Castellon is a very important date.
On the night of the 23rd of June, the coastal beaches of Castellon, are filled with light on the night of Saint John from the bonfires lit by the Castellonenses to celebrate the summer solstice.
Fireworks and the ‘Encounter of Fire Beasts’ combine to produce a spectacular show of fire with music, dancing and fireworks, creating a magical atmosphere outdoors. From the beginning of Camí de la Plana to the mouth of the Dry River, the people of Castellón and visitors alike gather for dinner, ‘sobaquillo’ – a type of beach picnic where everybody brings drink and food to the beach to enjoy the festival. Monumental bonfires are lit while the typical rituals of the night are accompanied by the sounds of music and fireworks bursts.
The typical rituals include jumping over the bonfires, bathing at midnight in the sea and writing wishes on pieces of paper which are later tossed onto the bonfires or sometimes into the sea.
The main celebrations take place at the Gurugu beach and the Parque Litoral Castellón, but check local information for the nights action in other beach towns in the Province.
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