This feast is held each year on the evening of the 23rd June and goes on into the early hours of the 24th (Dia de San Juan).
It is the old pagan midsummer celebration which has been ‘Christianified’ by tacking it on to a convenient Saint’s day.
There are a number of traditional ways of celebrating La Noche de San Juan most of which involve a huge bonfire.
The central celebration is ‘la Quema de los bigotes de San Juan’ where large papier mache figures, many of a satirical nature, are paraded through the town before being burnt on the beach.
One of the best, I have experienced, is in the small fishing village of Sabinillas, south of Estepona and near El Puerta de la Duquesa.
Here, a huge tableau is constructed on the beach a few days before the event. This is truly a work of art with a lot of attention given to detail and is based on a different theme every year and it is also a crime when, around midnight, the whole thing is set alight.
Thousands of people attend this feast night and most partake in the local custom of once the bonfire begins to burn down, they will walk into the sea to wash away any bad luck.
Another tradition is for the young men of the town to jump or dive over the bonfire once they have died down a bit, the higher the flames, the greater the challenge.
The night is usually marked by an extraordinary fireworks display, live music from several bands playing different types of music mainly geared to family entertainment and enjoyment.
As is customary no fiesta would be complete without the dancing and vino which continues until the early hours of the morning.