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The Magical Night of San Juan
From: 2014.06.23 To: 2014.06.24
Certain festivals seem to summarize life in Spain, with its love of having a good time in the company of friends and loved ones. The Night of San Juan is one such of these events. It is a celebration that is usually held on the beach with roaring bonfires, drink, food, and friends. The festival celebrates the shortest night of the year, the night of June 23rd, a magical night when pagan gods are said to reveal themselves and a time for villagers to reflect on the season of change. On the beaches of Malaga it's common to see people jumping over the huge bonfires which, according to legend, cleanse the body and the soul. Another tradition is midnight bathing that is supposed to wash away evil spirits. The sight of hundreds and even thousands of people wandering into the water after midnight with the haze of bonfires everywhere can be close to awe inspiring. As well as the bonfires that burn continuously, there are also muñecos or dolls that are burnt. This is usually done around midnight. Originally, the effigies were supposed to represent Judas Iscariot but now, the religious relevance seems to have become secondary to the enjoyment factor. Quite often the dolls are made up to represent local or national personalities who are famous (or sometimes infamous). Depending where you experience San Juan, you might find yourself almost entranced by the spectacle. In some places, hundreds upon hundreds of fires dot the coastline.