Update 24 June: All over Tenerife last night, thousands gathered on beaches to enjoy the midsummer festivities and the bonfires, and to take part in the traditional fire leaping. Arona Ayuntamiento has issued the above photos of the celebrations on Los Cristianos beach, Playa de las Vistas, and Las Galletas. In Los Cristianos as now traditional, the statue of San Juan was carried to the sea. Arona has more photos HERE. Here, too is a video of TV coverage this morning of the traditional bathing of the goats in Puerto de la Cruz.
Update 20 June: The Tenerife Cabildo has announced that this year, the major Puerto de la Cruz celebration will NOT take place on Playa Jardín beach on San Juan’s Eve, 23 June. There will only be bonfires and a small “symbolic” fireworks display. The town’s bathing of the goats takes places as usual, however, on the 24th, at the quay from 8am to 2pm on the 24th.
Original post 19 June: Tenerife has its own bonfire night, on the eve of the annual midsummer festival of San Juan Bautista (St John the Baptist). On St John’s Eve, 23 June, Tenerife is lit up with bonfires, and with smoke swirling in the hills throughout the island, many visitors often think that an early summer fire has broken out. This Monday will be no different.
The celebrations are not restricted to the inland hills and villages, however, with fires and parties on many beaches. Particularly popular are the ones held in El Médano and Los Cristianos, but the most spectacular will again be the celebration at the fiesta’s namesake beach, Playa San Juan, on the west coast. If you are near one of these beach parties, you might even see some people leaping over the flames three times, a ritual considered to be purifying, representing a burning away of the jumper’s sins and misfortunes, and so bringing good luck for the next year. For more information in English see Don Quijote.org
In Guía de Isora, the 24th, San Juan Bautista’s Day itself is a public holiday, but the largest celebration takes place in Puerto de la Cruz, where goat keepers from the hills above the town bring their flocks down to the coast to bathe them in the sea in the early morning. This Baño de Cabras (bathing of the goats) is a tradition that is said to date back to pre-Hispanic times, quite literally making the animals a living respresentation of the scapegoat whose purification brings good fortune to all in the local community.
Wherever you celebrate la Noche or el Día de San Juan, I hope you have a great and safe time.