As with most celebrations and events in Spain, the traditional Noche de San Juan 2021 is going to be a little different this year. This is due to; yes, you guessed it, the Coronavirus pandemic.
Article by Giles Brown
Noche de San Juan traditionally attracts hundreds of revellers to the beaches on June 23, and with Andalucía cautiously making its way out of the health crisis that put paid to anything fun happening in 2020, the authorities are taking a dim view of any spontaneous celebrations taking place. Which, although understandable, will take away some of the improvised fun that is synonymous with the night.
In what now seems the dim and distant time B.C. – “Before Covid” – one of the attractions of Noche de San Juan was its informality. You simply donned your best white outfit, threw some food and drink in the cold box and headed to the nearest beach with your friends. The local town halls normally got in on the act with official bonfires, live music and the usual pop up bars and restaurants. They also had the unenviable task of cleaning up the next day, as the beach normally resembled the aftermath of an explosion in a plastic bottle factory…
This year, however, there are no authorised events on the public beaches, while elsewhere in Spain, fines of up to €750 are being threatened to anyone who breaks the rules for partying on the beach.
Not all is lost, however, and there are still Noche de San Juan events planned for some of smarter beach clubs and restaurants.
First, a little history and tradition. Noche de San Juan is always held on June 23 – the shortest night of the year and the beginning of the summer solstice. As with most celebrations in Spain, it can trace its roots back to pagan times, before the Church decided to put their own spin on it and make it a Christian celebration. Traditionally, you dress in white (symbolising purity) and then leap over fire to cleanse your sins. Some of us in Marbella probably have to perform multiple leaps… Writing a lover’s name on a piece of paper and burning it brings romance while burning something old and personal marks the end of an old phase and a fresh beginning. As well as this, a dip in the sea at midnight also helps purify the body and soul. Others drink from fountains, as they believe that the water has magical properties. There you have it, dressing in white and appeasing the spirits via fire and water. Nothing pagan about that at all…
As mentioned before, some of the best known beach clubs will be holding Noche de San Juan celebrations, although they tend to be more formal (and with a price tag to match). Therefore, you may well end up burning paper, or more specifically, banknotes in your wallet. But just remember that you are partying in the same place that Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot and James Hunt let their hair down. Although not at the same time. That WOULD have been some party!
The Marbella Club Hotel’s legendary MC Beach marks the beginning of the summer with luxurious event that includes a welcome cocktail, canapés and their sumptuous buffet. At €150 a head, we are sure that the bonfire uses only the finest woods, and the evening includes a spectacular firework display.
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Anantara By The Sea Beach Club
If you want to do things a little differently, then the Anantara By The Sea Beach Club might be just what you are looking for. Located on the beach close to Estepona, it promises a vintage circus party with live music, entertainment, bonfire and a set menu full of culinary delights. It is certainly different to the usual celebrations!
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Nikki Beach Marbella
Famed for its Opening White Party, Nikki Beach is always one of the most stylish and sexy places to celebrate San Juan. At pains to point out that Nikki Beach complies with all regulations implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this year you can enjoy curated Mediterranean cuisine inspired by Spain, chilled wine, magical entertainment and barefoot chic vibes.
The Beach House
Always popular with the British, The Beach House will be marking San Juan with a sit-down dinner with live music featuring; The Masquerade Duo, Ruben Hernandez on Trumpet and Quike Navarro on Electric Violin. As day becomes night, The Beach House will up the heat a little with an epic after-party show including Nero Fire Dancers, DJ and Live Percussion.
Opium Beach Club
With a reputation for being bling, brash and bold, Opium Beach Club is doing things differently on Noche de San Juan with a live PA from Daviles de Novelda. The reggaeton rapper will be live on stage and you can expect things to get more than a little lively with a young and up for it crowd on the east side of Marbella.