Fiesta de San Juan
June 23, 2010
Deriving from the Pagan ritual of celebrating the Summer Solstice, or the beginning of the summer, this Spanish Festival is one of the biggest parties of the year.
I hosted a pre-midnight party, complete with great food, loud music, and cool friends, hanging out in my downtown pad.
For the festival, the townspeople erect a gigantic bonfire, and burn some kind of papier-mache model (last year, it was Neptune) at the strike of midnight. This year, the Rota town council was low on funds (“Estamos en crisis!”), so they did not light a ceremonial bonfire on the beach as they have in the years past. Instead they had a few smaller fires set all over the town, I’m guessing in a manner similar to Las Fallas in Valencia, but on a much smaller scale.
Also, there is a wishing tradition that my guests and I partook. You take 3 pieces of paper, and write down three wishes. At midnight, you throw the wishes into the fire, and make your way to the beach. You get in and let 3 waves wash over - one for each wish. Then, you either jump into the water altogether, or get out. They say that at least one of those wishes will come true. A coworker recounted the year when she and all her friends would altogether wish for one of their friends (who has been unsuccessful in the previous years) to finally bear a child. And that year it came true! Only months later, the said friend was pregnant!
After the fire burning, the town engages in a wild party all through the night. People are also allowed to sleep and set up tents on the beach that night. My apartment being right in front of the city beach, it was difficult to sleep and get up the next morning. And that morning, you should have seen the beach, what a mess it was! Cups and beer bottles, and all kinds of crap all over the sand.
The Spanish sure know how to party.