The Bonfires of Saint John Festival is coming and the whole of Spain will be on fire and not just because of the recession and the “indignados”. Every year, on June 23 at 12 pm, various rituals are performed to take advantage of the magical powers of the night of San Juan. The evening of June 23 is a magical night, “La Noche de San Juan”, the shortest night of the year, full of bonfires, fireworks, music and dancing. This Summer Fiesta is very important in villages, towns and cities all over Spain but especially in coastal regions where many people head for the beach, build bonfires and party throughout the night. The three symbols of this event are herbs in relation to health, youth and beauty, water that purifies and fire that keeps away evil spirits and witches.
According to tradition, jumping over a bonfire on Saint John night will burn all your troubles away. In addition, if when you are jumping into the fire you throw a braid made with flowers or colorful ribbons to the loved one and this is picked up before it falls, there will be happiness between you both and good fortune. If you burn something in the Sant Joan fire it will cleanse your sins and rid you of bad luck. Old furniture is often used for the bonfire to symbolise a gesture of “out with the old – in with the new!
Plunge into the sea during the night of San Juan and you will ensure health for the rest of the year. In Andalusia people wash the face at midnight with the intention of staying healthy and good looking throughout the year. A detail: that night no one can look in the mirror after a shower if one wants the spell to be effective.
Traditionally the herbs used that night have healing properties and can be used as protective amulets. Rosemary is a symbol of victory and scares away evil spirits. Your should collect and cook thyme, basil, lavender, rosemary and verbena.