A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC coordinator
Literature indicates that the festivities spreading all over Spain in June 23rd are the Christian recuperation of the Summer Solstice. Indeed, the events and celebrations turn around two main themes: fire and summer. In Galicia, San Juan is known as Noite Meiga (Witch Night). Already quoted by Ovid in the Fasti, of all rites associated with this magical night, jumping the bonfire is the most enduring. However, there is not agreement on how many times is it necessary. Overall, more than once and an odd number of times. 3? 7? 9? So the festivity starts several days before, gathering wood and paper for the bonfire.
Bonfires (and grilled sardines) are to be found everywhere, neighborhoods, villages, … All the region is on fire, especially in A Coruña, CAAC presidency, where San Juan has become the most important rendez-vous of the year. After a June month full of cultural events, on the 23rd, the beaches of Riazor and Orzan and their surroundings become the meeting point for several nights of gastronomy, music, culture and tradition that spread to all neighbourhoods. The programme is marked by music, children’s activities, sharing the limelight with the traditional parade, burning fails and fireworks. The activities will start on Sunday, June 15, with the traditional Day for Sports on the Street.
Should you not be heading directly to A Coruña tonight, you exceptionally can celebrate San Juan at home. Please keep the bonfire manageable and do not light it before midnight. Jump over it once the flames have decreased, and an odd number of times. If you are a student, you may want to burn the notes of the past year (only those exams you know you have passed)
In addition, on the morning of the 24th, you must wash your hands and face with roses, clover, rosemary, verbena, fennel and San Juan herb (yes it’s a secret!)
See you in A Coruña!