San Juan Bautista’s (St John the Baptist) Eve: Tenerife’s bonfire night Wednesday 23 June

Update 24 June: Some 20 goatherds with their flocks participated today in the traditional baño de cabras purification ceremony in Puerto de la Cruz. The tradition apparently dates back to pre-Hispanic times, and is a midsummer festival which always takes place in the early hours of St John the Baptist’s Day, after the bonfires of St John’s Eve. Around 1,000 goats from flocks belonging to several areas in north Tenerife took part in front of hundreds of tourists and residents. C24H

Original post 23 June: Tenerife has its own bonfire night, on the Eve of the annual midsummer fiesta of San Juan Bautista (St John the Baptist). On St John’s Eve, 23 June, Tenerife is lit up with bonfires and fireworks, and many visitors often think that a summer fire has started early. It will be no different this year, so expect to see plenty of smoke swirling above the hills throughout today.

The celebrations are far from restricted to the inland villages, however, and very many places on the coast will have bonfires on the beaches and in the harbours. If you are near one, you might even see some people jumping over the flames three times. This is considered to be purifying and lucky, representing a burning away of their problems. The largest celebration of San Juan’s Day itself is held in Puerto de la Cruz, and involves the Baño de Cabras (bathing of the goats), with goat keepers from the hills above the town bringing their flocks down to the coast to bathe them in the sea in the early morning of the 24th … literally traditional scapegoats whose purification will bring good fortune on their keepers and the local community.

For more information in English see Don


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