San Juan on Gran Canaria: Fire, Festivities, and Folklore

San Juan, also called St John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve, is the feast of San Juan Bautista. Especially in the Canary Islands, it’s a very popular festival. The eve of 24 June is the key date on which the population prepares to enjoy the traditional activities linked to this festivity.

When is San Juan 2023 celebrated?

The festivity dedicated to the Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on the eve of 14 June.

History of St John’s Eve

Saint John the Baptist was a holy precursor of Jesus in various branches of Christianity and even in Islam. Although not directly related to the feast of St. John, the celebrations are intertwined, as the Baptist was born 6 months before Jesus, which is why his birth is celebrated on the bonfires of 24 June.

The origin of the feast of St. John lies in the Catholic dogma of his birth, following a miracle performed by the angel Gabriel, who granted descendants to his parents, who were unable to have children. For this reason, the day of his birth is celebrated with great joy.

Churches in Gran Canaria in honour of Saint John the Baptist

There are several chapels and churches on the island that pay homage to the saint, but there are two of them that we wanted to mention in this article. One is located in the municipality of Arucas and the other in the municipality of Telde.

The historic centre of the town of Arucas is home to the church with ancient Romanesque architecture, which was built in 1909, but took 70 years to complete. The church of Arucas is known by its exterior features as a cathedral, even though it isn’t a cathedral.

And in the historic centre of Telde there’s a church with Gothic architecture that was built in 1484, after its collapse.

How San Juan is celebrated in Gran Canaria

san juan on las canteras

San Juan is a very important date in the calendar in the Canary Islands, and people look forward to enjoying the night with family and friends on the beach. The magical night is linked to various traditions of bonfires, sand, beach and jumping over the bonfires.

The main objective of the night is to chase away evil spirits and attract good luck through wishes, burning dolls in the bonfires and enjoying the saltpetre of the sea; to live a ritual of joy, hope, and purification.

San Juan on the beach of Las Canteras

One of the most significant places on the night of San Juan is the beach of the capital city of the island, the beach of Las Canteras. Given the characteristics provided by its natural setting, every year it brings together millions of people for the celebration of the most eagerly awaited summer night.

Hundreds of families and friends gather to enjoy the evening, sharing moments through dinners, games, dances, and even firework displays.

San Juan in Playa del Inglés

As in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the south of the island also celebrates the festivity of San Juan, specifically in Playa del Inglés; being one of the most touristic places of the island and during the night there are different music concerts and fireworks shows.

The location provides a wide range of possibilities of places to enjoy the night, after the night of San Juan. It also has an infinite number of restaurants to enjoy the gastronomy of the south of the island.

Enjoy the night of San Juan 2023

san juan bonfire

The festivity dedicated to Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on the eve of the 14th of June. For that reason, we recommend that you enjoy the night with us.

At HolidayWorld Maspalomas you can enjoy a unique night of entertainment with your family and friends. Whether it’s a karaoke session, bowling, visiting the gastronomic market or the amusement park.

Come and enjoy the night of San Juan with us!


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