The arrival of the summer solstice (June 21) brings a special night, the night of San Juan. June 23rd is considered the shortest night to celebrate a special moment to renew and give way to positive energies. Also known as “witches’ night”. Fire is used for this purpose, since it purifies by burning the old and bad, and brings renewed air full of desires. This pagan holiday, with the arrival of Christianity began to commemorate the birth of St. John the Baptist, on June 24, which is why we do not celebrate the exact day of the entrance of summer.

The whiskers of San Juan, at the Rada Beach

This wonderful night unites fire and water. To eliminate bad vibes or bad moments, bonfires are organized and straw, rag and paper dolls are prepared representing what we did not like from the past year. This burning, in Estepona, is known as the “Los bigotes de San Juan” and takes place on the Rada Beach. Formerly there was a doll in each neighborhood and at night we walked to see what were the demands of each neighborhood of Estepona.

What are “júas”?

The dolls that are burned on the Night of San Juan, the “júas”, represent a caricature starring well-known characters in some uncomfortable situation that has annoyed the people of Estepona. Generally these representations are made by members of local associations that can be presented to the contest organized by the town hall. All the dolls are burned on the night of June 23 except for the one that wins, which will last one more day.

Traditions of the night of San Juan in Estepona

The night of San Juan has several traditions in Estepona:

  • The first is to wait until midnight to dip your feet in the water, the more daring take a night swim. This serves to attract good health or luck for the following year.
  • The second is to collect sea water from the first twelve waves. This water will then be splashed in the corners of the house so that everything goes well in our home.

Other traditions that are repeated on Midsummer’s Eve

In addition to these traditional rituals of Estepona, there are many more that are repeated on the night of San Juan. For example, jumping backwards nine times attracts fertility. Jumping seven times over the embers of the bonfires attracts good luck for the following year (with this tradition one must be careful not to start the summer with a burn). There are also those who write their wishes on a piece of paper and burn them in the bonfire, or those who adapt this ritual by writing what they want to let go, to burn it after midnight… There is no shortage of rituals to celebrate the night of St. John!

Bonfires at the Rada Beach in Estepona

San Juan Whiskers Burning Contest

A contest is also held on the night of San Juan. Until June 15 you can register and organize with your friends or association, a complaint in the form of a flammable doll, of the situation that has bothered you the most this past year. I’m sure you’re wishing you had the excuse to make one without missing any detail. Well, this is your moment and, what’s more, if you win, you can win up to 1,000 euros. Don’t be left wanting!

You can download the contest rules here:

Performances of the Night of San Juan in Estepona

This party will feature a performance by a former member of the band Danza Invisible, Javier Ojeda, with his new album “Más de 2000 Noches Sin Dormir”. This new band will liven up the night of San Juan and will be accompanied by artists such as Daniel Casares, Samuel Hope and Adolfo Diaz (member of Airbag).

In addition to all these activities and to see the whiskers of San Juan, bonfires will be organized along the beach.

Official program of San Juan 2023 in Estepona


If you decide to enjoy our special night, treat yourself to dinner at a beach bar or a dinner on the beach with your friends. And very important: don’t forget to leave the beach clean by throwing all your waste in the trash when you finish. We hope you enjoy this magical night and renew your energies (without burning yourself in any bonfires).