A guide to the festivities for the shortest night of the year, including a novel idea for Spain’s British expats…
Today, Friday June 23, brings the night of San Juan, a fiesta associated with fire, water, and – this is Spain, after all – food. Considered to be the Christian version of the summer solstice celebration in the northern hemisphere, the fiesta is celebrated at midnight on June 23, when, according to the Bible, San Juan Bautista – or John the Baptist – was born. His father instructed a fire to be lit to announce his birth, and that tradition is still respected in many areas of Spain – above all those with Celtic traditions, such as Asturias, but also on the Mediterranean coast, with Alicante perhaps the most famous.
This year, however, San Juan has taken on a new meaning for the British community in Spain. Today is the first anniversary of the Brexit vote, a referendum held in the United Kingdom to decide whether the country should leave the European Union. Much to the dismay of many of those Britons currently living in Europe, the “yes” vote won, and since then expatriate groups have sprung up across Spain in a bid to campaign against Brexit and to fight for the rights of Britons in their adopted country once the UK leaves the EU.
For those looking for where best to celebrate San Juan, here’s a cross-country guide: