The night of San Juan in Malaga celebrates the summer solstice. The longest day and shortest night of the year come with fun traditions, delicious food and with the Mediterranean playing centre stage. Read on to discover how to celebrate San Juan in Malaga, where to go and what you should be doing to ensure a happy and beautiful year ahead.
Note that because of covid-19 health and safety regulations, San Juan 2020 has been cancelled. Bookmark this page for the 2021 edition!
When is the night of San Juan in Malaga?
Although summer officially starts on 21 June, the night of San Juan falls on the 23 June, a Tuesday this year. Expect all-night celebrations on the beaches in Malaga.
What does it celebrate?
The feast of St John (Juan) provides the religious element but this event is all about the summer solstice. The shortest night of the year traditionally celebrates the arrival of summer.
What happens on the night of San Juan in Malaga?
Malaga celebrates San Juan with fire and music.
Bonfires – lit on all beaches with the main focuses on La Malagueta and La Misericordia, the city’s two largest beaches.
Júas – figures made of wood, cloth and papier mache, representing politicians, celebrities or topics from current affairs are burnt at midnight on the largest bonfires. This year’s official júa represents a protest against famine in the world and will be 8m high. You can get an idea of what a júa looks like from the picture below of last year’s against drug trafficking). The júa is burnt at midnight together with fire crackers on the beach near Glorieta 1 de mayo on La Misericordia seafront promenade (opposite the Diputación building towards the west end of promenade – follow the crowds!).
Fireworks – set off just after midnight at the west end of La Misericordia beach once the júa has burnt. The fireworks will be visible from most other Malaga beaches – those in El Palo and Pedregalejo where Malaga Bay curves round will have the best views.
Free concert – from 10.30pm on Glorieta 1 de mayo on La Malagueta seafront promenade. From 9pm on La Malagueta beach.
What should you eat on the night of San Juan?
Beach picnics obviously but make your San Juan in Malaga extra special with some grilled sardines (at their best at the moment) washed down with a glass of cool beer or chilled wine at one of the beach restaurants. Also available on the barbecue are fresh squid, octopus, prawns and just about any whole fish.
What are typical San Juan traditions?
Most traditions involve water, fire and wishes, and all of them focus on the year ahead.
Swim at midnight – take a dip in the Mediterranean to cleanse yourself of all the bad vibes and ensure happiness for the next 12 months. Pure traditionalists enter the water walking backwards.
Beauty treatment – splash your hands and face with seawater at midnight for guaranteed beauty. But don’t look in a mirror to see the effects until well into the next day otherwise all that effort will be wasted 😉
Make a wish – write it on a piece of paper and throw it on 1 of the bonfires at midnight.
The night of San Juan is just 1 of the many annual events in Malaga. We cover most of them in our guide – take a look via the link below.