The Costa del Sol gets ready for the Fiesta de San Juan

Water and fire are the protagonists of the celebrations.
Water and fire are the protagonists of the celebrations. / SUR
  • The area's beaches will be illuminated with bonfires and fireworks this Sunday

The Costa del Sol will be illuminated with bonfires and fireworks on Sunday 23 June, as thousands of people crowd onto the beaches to enjoy the Fiesta de San Juan. The celebrations, which generally start around 10pm, include the tradition of the moraga - the grilling of sardines on open fires - and the burning of the juas, an effigy similar to Guy Fawkes.

At midnight firework displays will mark the arrival of the Feast of Saint John the Baptist. This is one of the few saints' days which commemorate the anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint.

San Juan marks the beginning of the summer and is shrouded in pagan rituals, of which water and fire are the main protagonists. According to tradition, the water is at its purest on the eve of San Juan. Fires are lit to ward off evil spirits and participants leap over the flames and then swim in the sea to clean and purify the soul.

The festivities in Malaga take place on Playa La Malagueta. This is one of the bigger celebrations and includes live music and entertainment, which continues until the early hours.

Torre del Mar holds a huge beach party on the Paseo Maritimo Levante, while in Rincón de la Victoria, the celebrations take place on the Playa El Tajo.

The Moraga de San Juan in Torremolinos is celebrated in the Plaza del Remo in Carihuela, while a spectacular firework display will light up the sky over the Playa Santa Ana (Castillo El Bil Bil) in Benalmádena Costa. Other events are held on the Playa San Francisco in Fuengirola, Playa El Pinillo in Marbella and Playa de Rada in Estepona.