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Celebrate the Summer in Mallorca

Summer officially arrives next week and that means it’s time for one of the season’s best-loved and most magical fiestas, Sant Joan, which happens on Friday, the 23rd – the eve of the saint’s day.

The tradition of fire on the eve of Sant Joan dates from pre-Christian times when bonfires were lit to celebrate the summer solstice. The date was eventually moved from June 21st to the eve of Sant Joan.

Fire and water are the stars of this fiesta, and Palma is where the biggest party happens. This includes a correfoc – or fire run – late that evening in Parc de la Mar. It features groups of dimonis (devils) as well as the two popular fire-breathing dragons of Sant Jordi and Drac de Na Coca. The combination of fire and the relentless drumming of a big batucada makes this an experience that’s not for those of a nervous disposition.

In Palma and elsewhere around the coast of Mallorca, people gather with family or friends, to sit on the beach around bonfires or rings of burning candles or tea lights.

Several purifying rituals are associated with this magical night, so don’t be surprised to see people jumping over the flames of a bonfire or candles – believed to offer protection for a year.

Another ritual is writing wishes on a piece of paper, then throwing it into the flames. Some people burn something old and personal to chase away bad spirits.

The traditional midnight bathe in the sea is the essential ritual – and is believed to have curative properties on this night. Don’t forget to take a towel in case you’re tempted by a dip.