Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Noche de San Juan

The summer solstice, the day when daylight is at its peak, coincides with the Catholic feast of St. John the Baptist.

In Spain, the day of San Juan de Bautista is observed in a bombastic fashion, combining water and fire (and lotsa beer!) as people wait for the sunrise on the 24th of June. It's a night of magic, which many associate with witchcraft and pagan rituals that indeed precede this Christianized celebration (here in the Philippines, too... remember Tatarin?)

In Valladolid, Spain, for example, the Noche de San Juan is celebrated on the Playa de las Moreras, beside the Pisuerga River. At the stroke of midnight, the main bonfire is lit and the people get the embers from the principal fire to light their own mini-bonfires. They then jump over the fire amid the sounds of partying and merrymaking.

Feliz Noche de San Juan a todos!

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