A different plan for San Juan, the most magical night of the year

The night of June 23rd is the shortest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, and it is a magical holiday related to the beginning of summer.


The night of San Juan is actually the Christian adaptation of the summer solstice celebration party, which has pagan origins. Originally, bonfires were lit at night to give strength to the sun and encourage it to prolong its light. Christianity picked up this festival and also linked it to the birth of Saint John Baptist.


There are many traditions around this festivity and many rites are performed depending on the superstition that is held and the place where it is completed. Some of the best known are burning objects to leave behind the bad and attract the good; jumping the bonfires up to seven times to get good luck during the year; bathing in the sea at night to purify the body or making wishes to the stars.



The night of San Juan in Extremadura

In Extremadura this night is celebrated in many unique and different ways and we will tell you about some of them.


In Coria, this night kicks off the local festivities, known as the San Juanes, where the bulls are let loose through the streets of the city until the running of the bulls in the bullring. On the following days, there is more running of the bulls and the town is full of life and a festive atmosphere.



In Badajoz, it coincides with the big day of the fair and it is celebrated with a fireworks show on the banks of the Guadiana river that is worth seeing for its beauty, and the reflection of the fireworks in the river water. After this show, you can enjoy the activities, music and atmosphere of the booths of the Badajoz fair, one of the largest fairs in the region.


In various towns of Extremadura, the burning of dolls is carried out, which is known by different names in the region. In Olivenza, it is known as the “Dolls of San Juan”, in Alconchel as “Los Mastros” and in Villanueva del Fresno as “Juanitos”. These dolls are usually made to human size and are stuffed with straw. In some of these towns, such as Olivenza, a contest is held to have the winning doll of the festivity, which ends up being burned at the stake at the end of the night.



A different night of San Juan

Being San Juan a very special night full of magic and having in Extremadura and Alentejo one of the best night skies due to the low light pollution, we propose you live this festival in a unique way by doing an astrotourism activity, learning about the sky so that you do not miss any star to make your wish on the night of June 23rd.


Extremadura and Alentejo, have the Starlight quality certificate, in addition to ideal natural environments for observing the night sky where you can enjoy the most magical night of the year.


If you are interested in learning more about astrotourism experiences, contact us or purchase it through our experience vouchers that will allow you to enjoy it at any time of the year and even give it to that special person.



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