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The night of San Juan

The night of San Juan

The night of San Juan

Málaga, as a Mediterranean city, celebrates in a very special way St John's Eve, on the night of 23 June. In fact, the feast celebrates the birth of St John the Baptist, an important figure in Christianity, considered a prophet and herald of Jesus Christ, who was his cousin.

Therefore, just as the winter solstice (December 24-25) was set by Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus - the days begin to lengthen - the summer solstice (June 23-24) was dedicated to John the Baptist - when the days begin to shorten.

Thousands of Malagueños go to the beaches to celebrate the arrival of summer and, in the case of students, to put an end to the school year. They gather in groups and make bonfires where they burn papers with wishes written on them, and jump on the fires while the music plays, filling the coastline with small fires.

The rituals begin at midnight. One tradition is to wet one's feet on the seashore come midnight. But that is also the time when the fire should be lit. Some very traditional victims of these fires in Málaga are the júas, rag dolls or the like, dressed and usually adorned with some kind of symbol, which are set on fire.

Although examples of júas are still seen on beaches, in the 1980s and 90s they abounded in neighbourhoods, especially those closest to the sea, where people gathered around the júas to sing, dance, eat and drink.