Noche de San Juan – where is it possible to celebrate?

by Lorraine Williamson
San Juan

Noche de San Juan has arrived. Despite the increasingly optimistic epidemiological situation in Spain, partying during ‘the New Year’s Eve’ is not an option in many places. However, there are some exceptions along the Spanish coast. 

The noche de San Juan is the annual midsummer night celebration and concerns the eve of the día de San Juan on June 24. True to tradition, Spaniards flock to the coast to spend the night partying. How will this work in corona times, where hugging and partying have disappeared for over a year and a half? 

Many municipal authorities in Spain say they are closing beaches to prevent group formation and botellones – and thus infections – especially among Spaniards between 20 and 29 years who have not all been vaccinated yet. However, there are beach resorts in Spain that are open to celebrate the noche de San Juan, albeit with restrictions. 

Valencia closes beaches and deploys extra police 

The municipality of Castellón closes the beaches from 8pm on June 23 until 6am the next morning. The municipalities of Alicante and El Campello announced that they would do the same. Beaches in these municipalities are closed from 9pm on Wednesday. Access to the beaches of Benidorm is prohibited from 9.30pm. Visitors are also banned from the beaches of Torrevieja. 

Valencia will deploy 3,000 extra police officers to ensure that no group formation occurs. The municipal police have also announced that they will deploy four times as many personnel. Before Covid-19, an average of about 100,000 people came to the beaches of Valencia to celebrate the noche de San Juan together. 

Varying measures in Andalucia 

Málaga also announced last week to close all beaches. From Wednesday evening at 10pm, access to the beaches will be denied until the following morning at 8am. In Almería, beaches are not closed but barbecues and bonfires are not allowed. Extra security and cleaning services are being deployed and citizens have been asked to adhere to health measures. 

Ibiza and Mallorca also close beaches to prevent crowds 

The Spanish news site Voz Populí wrote on Monday that Ibiza and the municipality of Palma de Mallorca have also announced to close beaches during the noche de San Juan. Currently, the beaches of Talamanca, Ses Figueretes and Platja d’en Bossa are known to be closed from 7pm to 7am.

The municipality of Palma de Mallorca also announces that it will close all beaches on Mallorca on Wednesday from 7pm to 10am on Thursday. In any case, this concerns the beaches of Cala Major, Can Pere Antoni, Molinar, Ciutat Jardí, Cala Estància, Platja de Palma, Cala Nova, Rocas de Cala Major, Paseo del Molinar, El Penyó, Cala Gamba, Es Carnatge and Son Caios. 

Barcelona does allow (controlled) San Juan celebrations 

The municipality of Barcelona has decided to close the Barceloneta district to avoid large crowds and botellones. Since the curfew has been lifted, many people have been on the move in this district. In other places on the beaches of Barcelona, ​​celebrations in honor of San Juan are allowed provided that the applicable protocols are observed. There are also more police officers here. 

Why is San Juan so popular in Spain? 

One of the highlights is that at midnight people take a dip in the sea. The story goes that if you go swimming at midnight, you will keep the same appearance for the next year as when you were in the water. You can also make a wish before jumping into the water. Saint San Juan will then ensure that it comes out. 

The lighting of bonfires is another highlight of this celebration, although this is not allowed everywhere. Throughout Spain, San Juan is celebrated with different rituals and traditions. 

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