Fiesta de San Jaun: The Night of Magic in Canarias

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If you've read Lord of the Flies, you know that we, as human beings, are much closer to our primal side than we like to imagine. Walking the line that separates our basic instincts from our civilized selves, we often forget how easy it is to cross back into the tribal frenzy of our ancestors, embracing it with all its fierceness and primitivity. Maybe the Night of San Juan (or Summer Solstice), here in the Canary Islands, is not essentially about that, but dance long enough under the tilting moon with nothing but the sound of crashing waves and the pumping of your own rum spiked blood to spur you on, and you might start to wonder. It's the one night of the year when wilderness is welcome, and we spend it dancing, drinking and chanting around the bonfire like savages, catching the crowd's spirit on the smoky wind.

The night of San Juan is celebrated strongly all around the island, with music heard from far away and fire smoke penetrating people's homes, as if to persuade the unsuspecting citizens to join the celebration with it's wild and almost pagan ways. To make the native experience even more complete, the culmination of the night includes a customary midnight swim in the pitch black of the ocean, making it the highest point if the night. Anyone who had a childhood can relate to the sense of nostalgia conjured up by the scent of burning firewood mixed with striking image of the violet flames blazing in the dark, and that's precisely what makes the experience truly unforgettable. Fiesta de San Juan is a magical night that will stay with you throughout the whole year.