It is common in Andalucia and Malaga that people make bonfires and fireworks along the coast during all the night and burn a doll called Júas. The tradition here proposes to swim or get our feet inside water at 12pm for waking up the following day with a better look and one year of luck.

It’s called in Spain ‘Noche de San Juan (night of San Juan) but it is the same as bonfires of St. John or Midsummer’s Eve.

San Juan festivity history

The Midsummer’s Eve, later called Night of San Juan, is a pagan celebration whose origin gets lost in time. People used to make bonfires and dance around them for giving more strength to the Sun and keeping it longer over the Earth. San Juan Night is the Summer solstice; from that night in advance the days will become shorter until the Winter solstice.

Later in history the celebration included magic rituals which some of them are still conserved like writing wishes on a paper before throwing it to the bonfire or getting the feet or full body into the sea water at midnight. Tradition says it is the perfect night for fire and water rituals and to get rid of bad spirits, it was a very popular and established festivity in Europe.

Catholics tried to change the meaning by adding their own story about San Juan Bautista birth and to replace the original celebrations by making bonfires with a cross but actually they only were able to replace the name.

Today San Juan Night or Midsummer Night is a popular festivity throughout Spain and still being a magical day for many people. Want to join? Continue reading about this popular festivity in Malaga.

When is the Night of San Juan festival?

The night of 23th of June is the Midsummer’s Eve or Night of San Juan in Malaga, if you are visiting Southern Spain you should not miss it!

san juan bonfires

Night of San Juan in the different municipalities

Depending on the municipality in Malaga San Juan Night can be celebrated in different ways:

Night of San Juan in Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella…

On the Costa del Sol there are bonfires along the entire coast until the sunrise, it is common to see people get into the water at 12pm for getting luck as well as writing wishes on papers before throwing it to the ashes or the sea.

San Juan Night in Torremolinos is very popular as well as in all other coastal towns like Fuengirola or Marbella, neighbourhoods or friends get together on the beach to make barbecues, drink and have a good time. It is also common to see organised events during this night in some areas.

Night of San Juan in Malaga

Malagueta and Misericordia beach are popular beaches in Malaga for celebrating this special night with a festival, live music, dancing and organised events.

Rincon de la Victoria also usually has live concerts and events before 12pm.

Some interior municipalities of Malaga without beach have their own special celebrations for this event, as example Benaojan has the ‘Mountain Night of San Juan (San Juan Serrano) with free barbecue, events, music, shows, dancing and a bonfire.

Spanish Rituals and traditions during San Juan Night

Fire Rituals

  • Jumping the bonfire will bring good luck as fire will provide protection all the year… if we do not get burnt I guess it counts as good luck!
  • Writing a wish on a paper and throwing it to the bonfire will help to have a better chance to achieve it.

Water Rituals

  • Water is an important ritual agent, it is common to see people getting inside the water nude or in swimsuit at 12pm, it is supposed to rise the fertility for women and avoid negative energies.
  • Cleaning face with water from the sea (or from home) at 12pm will provide a better look the following day.

Any of those rituals related to the water will have no effect if we look at ourselves on a mirror during the night, so better avoid mirrors!

Love Ritual

If you are looking for true love there is a magic ritual during the Night of San Juan. Before 12pm burn two red candles in your bedroom, write on a paper your name and the name of the person you love (if you do not know anyone you love, just write then Soul Mate).

Boil water and add three parts of yarrow, three parts of lavender, three parts of verbena, 12 red rose petals and some ginger. Once done, strain the infusion and let it cold down.

Spray the bedroom with it, fold the paper with both yours and your love name with the wax from the candles and keep it under the pillow, you will have a prophetic dream about your future love.

Fertility Ritual

For fertility you can burn a candle during the Night of San Juan and bury it the following morning.

A special and romantic night to enjoy the beach

This night is perfect for walking the seashore while watching the fireworks and the bonfires, if you are travelling with someone special it will be a lifetime memory we recommend from

You can read about other festivals in Malaga in our website.