San Juan Bautista Festivity in Arucas
The Roman Catholic Church commemorates St. John the Baptist on June 24 (the day of his birth) and August 29 (when he was beheaded). In many countries the summer solstice is dedicated to this saint. The associated ritual, the bonfire, is very similar to the Anglo-Saxon feast that took place in midsummer. The purpose of this ritual was giving more power to the sun, which from that time was becoming more weak (the days are getting shorter until the winter-solstice). On the other hand, it is believed that if you jump over the bonfires your wishes will become true.
In many places there is no doubt that the current celebrations have a direct connection with the celebrations linked to the summer solstice, influenced by pre-Christian or simply linked to the cycles of nature rituals. But elsewhere (Spain, for example) the existence of a link between the celebration of the summer solstice (northern hemisphere) taking place on 20-21 June and the celebrations of St. John (on June 24) vary according to the dates, the discontinuity in the celebration, traditions and customs. Nevertheless, common elements are noted, as is the realisation of bonfires in the streets and squares of the towns where family and friends gather.
Arucas is under the patronage of St. John and celebrates it since the XVI century. At present the celebration is from June 5 to July 5. Many important events and activities take place, such as bonfires, cattle fair, folklore meetings, contests and pilgrimages to see the saint.
On June 24 religious events will be those who have the most prominence, alongside traditional crafts fairs. Take advantage of the opportunity to see the city of Arucas in its most important festival!
By David Pulido Suarez
Student at CET Services