Like you need an excuse to celebrate summer and glorious sunshine but La Noche de San Juan (The Night of Saint John) marks the symbolic start of summer for many in Spain.
In the evening of June 23rd, the beaches are full of life with tourists and locals alike, celebrating with food, drink, music and bonfires.
San Juan represents a time of purification, letting go of the past and looking forward to new beginnings. The bonfires are used to purge your past – jumping over the flames three times is said to cleanse your body and soul.
The ritual of purification is said to be complete when, after midnight, you wash your face and hands in the sea three times. Many people nowadays simply throw themselves into the sea – a bit wetter, but still purified!
As well as the many small bonfires, some places have larger ones reminiscent of Guy Fawkes Night, when effigies are burned. Some of the effigies can be quite elaborate and often represent local politicians or celebrities!
This is just the start of an evening of fun and frolics with friends and family. The night of partying only ends when the sun comes up. So expect the beaches of Fuengirola to be a spectacle come June 23rd when summer rolls into town.