-, Valencian Culture and Traditions

✨San Juan: magical traditions and rituals✨


The celebration of San Juan on the night of June 23-24 has its roots in various traditions that have been intertwined throughout time.

And here we are going to tell you what elements make it the most special and magical night of the year.

Stay until the end to see what rituals to attract good luck are celebrated.

Pagan origin?

The celebration of San Juan has its roots in ancient pagan festivities related to the summer solstice, which marked the point of maximum luminosity and the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.
As from this moment the sun was losing strength until it reached the winter solstice, with the longest night of the year, many cultures, from the Celts to the Romans, performed rituals and ceremonies to honor the sun and give it strength and thus celebrate fertility, abundance, renewal and avoid being left in the dark forever.

Christian influence

Then came the influence of Christianity, which changed the day on which the rituals were performed in many places: the Catholic Church adapted and merged these pagan festivities with the celebration of the birth of Saint John the Baptist, whose date is June 24.
Saint John the Baptist was recognized as the forerunner of Jesus, and his birth is considered an important event in the liturgical calendar.

The fire, the great protagonist?

One of the most prominent features of the celebration of San Juan is fire. Bonfires are lit on beaches, squares, and fields, and people jump over them as part of the tradition. The fire it is symbolically associated with purification and renewal. The beginning of something new.

Ancient rituals and superstitions?

In addition to the use of fire, there are numerous rituals and superstitions associated with the night of San Juan.

Do you want to know what they are?

Read on…


Lighting bonfires is one of the most widespread traditions on the night of San Juan. People gather around the fire to enjoy its warmth and light. Bonfires are skipped as a purifying act and it’s believed that they provide protection against evil spirits and disease. It is also attributed to good luck.

Purification baths

Many people take advantage of the night of San Juan to bathe in the sea, rivers or fountains at dawn on June 24. It is believed that the water acquires special properties during this night and that bathing in it cleanses the body and soul. In addition, it is associated with the elimination of negative energies.

Jump the waves

Another tradition is jumping seven waves just at midnight, although the number may vary by region. It is said that this is the perfect time to make a wish and have it come true.

Bathing entering backwards

Anyone who bathes in the sea having entered backwards will be protected throughout the year.

Medicinal herbs

During the night of San Juan, the collection of medicinal herbs takes place, which are believed to acquire healing and magical properties on this special occasion. Among them stands out the renowned St. John’s wort, valued for its incredible properties, used in preparations and rituals that seek to attract health and protection against harmful influences.

Write wishes on a paper

A frequent practice is to put wishes or intentions on paper and throw them into the bonfires, believing that the fire acts as a channel to send them to the universe and make them come true. Also, some people burn objects or symbols that represent what they want to leave behind in their lives, thus symbolizing liberation and transformation.

All these rituals are still used today, each culture has adapted these forms to their desires, worries and fears. They are a great form of liberation and personal knowledge as well as union, hope and strength, since it makes you reflect on your past, leaving things behind and putting all your positive energy into the future.

[EXTRA] Legends around the ?

  • About love

It is said that the sun was in love with the earth and that every year, on June 21, he denied the possibility of leaving it. As a ritual and to commemorate this moment, the people lit bonfires and celebrated love and prosperity.

[EXTRA] Legends from Spain ?

  • The seven devil horses

In Cantabria, stories of evil spirits are also woven. According to legend, during the night of San Juan, seven horses accompanied by Lucifer and six other demons ride through the heavens, leaving behind a dark cloud of sulfur and terrifying screams. However, the bonfires are lit to ward off bad omens and purify the environment.

  • Demons and witches

One of the towns most deeply rooted in superstition and the cradle of numerous myths and legends related to this festivity is Galicia. In the northwestern region of Spain, the belief is held that during the night of San Juan a portal to the underworld, allowing the passage of the “witches and demos” to the world of the living. In some villages, the elders continue to carry out various rituals to protect themselves from these fearsome creatures. Galician families prepare “cacho”, a mixture of wild herbs that is used to wash the face and ward off evil spirits.

  • The magician of wishes

In the charming Valencian town of Teulada, a fascinating legend unfolds in the magical night. According to its inhabitants, on the night of June 23, the fairy “La Joanaina” lives in Font de la Jana, located a few kilometers from the city. If someone is lucky enough to come across this mythological creature, it is said that they can grant them three wishes, on the condition that they carry it to Teulada without turning their head to look at it.

What do you think? Did you know these healing legends and rituals?

Tell us which ones you know.

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