Las Hogueras y Los Tienda de Campana: La Noche de Bonfires and Tents

Liana Cramer is a student at the University of Notre Dame and an official API Student Blogger. Liana studied abroad this summer with API in Granada, Spain.

Yesterday my friends and I celebrated la noche de San Juan at Almuñecar beach, just outside of Granada. This Spanish festival, the night of Saint John, celebrates the longest day of the year and the arrival of summer. I’ve been in Granada for only one month and have already taken part in two major Spanish festivals. While la Semana de Corpus was characterized by parades and fairs, la noche de San Juan was a night of bonfires and tradition. We arrived in the evening and the beach was already crowded with people of all ages drinking and listening to music. As it finally got dark, bonfires were lit and fireworks began.

At midnight, after some instructions from Spaniards we had met, we joined the crowds in welcoming the summer season. We scribbled our fears onto a piece of paper, which we then threw into one of the bonfires. Tradition says that in order to conquer these fears in the year to come, we are to jump over the fire three times and run to the beach’s edge to cleanse or purify ourselves in the water. Those who could gather the courage did just that and then, still fully clothed, we all ran straight into the water. Later, as we sat by one of the bonfires attempting to dry off we chatted with a group of Spaniards who had come to the festival much more prepared than us. A change of clothes and a tent to keep warm would have been a good idea….but, nonetheless, the night was a cultural experience we all appreciated.

La Playa a Almuñecar

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