Although the origins are pagan and go back to the original island people, the Guanche, celebrating the feast of San Juan is a big thing in Tenerife.
Many believe that the rituals carried out across the island on midsummer night are magical. These tend to revolve around fire and water to purify the sins of man, jumping over fires to demonstrate prowess, the burning of candles and flower petals but also to pay tribute to the Sun.
Each municipality celebrates in their own way. Wherever you go, on the eve of the festival (June 23), hundreds of bonfires light up the beaches and valleys, it is a spectacular sight that amazes and captivates everyone.
In the north of the island, white-clad pilgrims welcome the summer solstice with music, bonfires, the so-called “hachitos” and torch-lit processions.
Candelaria and El Puertito of Guimaras hold some intense parties. El Medano attracts hundreds of people to hours of uninterrupted partying in the central square making it one of the busiest parts of the island and of course, Playa San Juan, on the west coast will celebrate the fiesta to its namesake.
However, the most spectacular celebrations can be seen in Los Cristianos, where bonfires will burn on Las Vistas beach and the biggest congregation of people, made up of locals and tourists, will party until dawn. The location is superb and takes advantage of the numerous pubs and terraces of the area to animate the evening. People throng the streets and seafront as they watch the statue of San Juan being carried down to the harbour, then come midnight everyone takes a dip in the sea.
At dawn the next day, when many in the south are suffering from a hangover, Puerto de la Cruz goatherds’ parade with their flocks to the fishing pier, where they are purified and cleaned in a ritual called Baño de Cabras that is said to date back to the ancient aboriginals.
Wherever you celebrate la Noche de San Juan in Tenerife there will always be something supernatural and mystical in its traditions and rituals for you to enjoy and make sure you have a great and safe time.