Monday, June 22, 2009

La Noche de San Juan

Huge masses of people will be heading to the beaches tomorrow night in celebration of "La Noche de San Juan," which literallly means "The Night of San Juan." At the stroke of midnight, people will throw their backs into the water for good luck, and to chase away bad omens and spirits. Some people take three, seven and up to twelve plunges. This annual ritual is observed on June 23rd, and is held in honor of the patron saint John the Baptist, who was born on June 24th. Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela, amongst other countries, also celebrate it with their own traditions and customs.

Here on the island, La Noche de San Juan is an immensely popular event, especially since the capital city is named after its namesake patron saint. Tomorrow night, there will be fireworks, concerts and cultural events held not just in San Juan, but also throughout the island. It also marks the arrival of the summer solstice, the start of the Summer season. Unfortunately, tomorrow night will also be a busy night for the police though. During La Noche de San Juan, people tend to get just a bit carried away with alcohol consumption.

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