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The Festival of San Juan is celebrated on 23rd June, St John’s Eve and the day of the summer solstice. Although dedicated to St John the Baptist, its tradition is thought to be from pagan times. Fire, the symbol of the sun, is a fundamental element of the celebrations. Most parties have a great bonfire which is intended to ward off evil spirits.
The night is seen by many as an opportunity to clean out the old in order to welcome in the new summer season. People often write their thoughts, wishes and regrets on slips of paper and throw them into the fire at midnight. In order to secure further good luck, many people then jump over the hot embers.
This ritual cleansing continues with a midnight dip in the (hopefully) warm Mediterranean Sea. Festival goers walk backwards into the sea to “cleanse” their souls and bring good health for the year ahead.
The Festival of San Juan is celebrated all over Spain, and Nerja is no exception. Residents and visitors of all ages flock to Burriana Beach. Bonfires line the shore and with beach bars, food stalls and live entertainment there is a great party atmosphere.
The party often lasts till dawn and promises to be an unforgettable evening.