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St John's Eve or Noche de San Juan on Tenerife

Updated on February 20, 2016

St John's Eve is a big midsummer celebration in Tenerife

The Eve of St John, or Noche de San Juan, as it is known in Spanish, is the most important celebration in Tenerife for many people on the island, probably even more so that New Year's Eve. Thousands of people flock to the beaches and many stay up all night right through until dawn.

Bonfires are made weeks before all over the island and are lit on St John's Eve. Firework displays are another important part of the night's fun and festivities.

Noche de San Juan photos

San Juanito
San Juanito
Dancers in the procession at Playa de San Marcos
Dancers in the procession at Playa de San Marcos
Part of the procession
Part of the procession
The beach in San Marcos
The beach in San Marcos

Celebrations on St John's Eve

The celebrations vary around the island but the bonfires are made in all parts. By morning the smell of smoke is everywhere.

Beach parties are also held all around Tenerife and in many places music stages with DJs and live acts are set up. People dance on the beach and also in the processions that are held. Fire-dancers and pyrotechnics are on the night's menu.

Noche de San Juan is the island's celebration to mark the Summer Solstice and Midsummer. It mixes Catholic images with the Guanche past of the island. At dawn in Puerto de la Cruz, herds of goats are driven into the sea to bathe them.

This tradition is known as "Baño de Cabras." This is something the ancient Guanches also did.

Many people go in the sea too at midnight and before and the idea is that this is a time of purification when you are washed clean by the waters. The bonfires are something else which purifies by burning away all that is unwanted.

Flowers are often put on the beach and cast into the sea. Candles and torches of fire are lit.

In Puerto de la Cruz the popular beach of Playa Jardín is covered in people who have come to celebrate the event. The festivities on St John's Night in Puerto are a high point of the year when it comes to celebrations.

Much smaller seaside villages like San Marcos near Icod de los Vinos have more people arriving in them and going to the beach than at any other time in the year. The roads and car-parks are full of parked vehicles. Playa San Marcos becomes transformed for this night of festivities.

A procession is made down to the seafront where crowds line the streets waiting to watch. The beach is covered with more people than at any other time and many youngsters enjoy going in the sea and dancing to the music being played by DJs.

St John's Night is one on which even the most quiet and stay-at-home residents take to the streets and go to the beach. Noche de San Juan is a truly magical party night that people look forward to every year on Tenerife.

Noche San Juan @ Puerto de la Cruz / Tenerife

© 2010 Steve Andrews

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