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Crowds last year enjoying the night
Tomorrow night is party night across the region - not because Spain are playing football but it is the traditional night of the Eve of San Juan - 23rd, with the day falling on the 24th June. It is a very ancient festival, originally with deep religious meaning but has become diluted and is basically a night of partying and fun with friends and family.

This year it falls on a Saturday and so likely to be especially busy - particularly as the children have all just finished school for the Summer... yes already and as you can imagine the poor parents have to keep them entertained for 11 long weeks!

Revellers waiting for the stroke of midnight at shoreline
Some of the traditions and superstitions are still upheld - the main has always been to jump into the sea at the stroke of midnight and throw 3 coins into the water - and yes the water is cold! Last year hundreds lined the shore in Albir but not all were brave enough to go in completely... a paddle proved adequate in many cases!

Then just after midnight you light a bonfire - referred to as "Hogueras" and depending on which tale you listen to you jump over the bonfire three times to be cleansed and purified and have your problems burned away.... looking at the bonfire on Albir beach last year, if you tried jumping over that you´d burn more than your problems as it must have been about 10 metres high!

People start descending on the beach mid afternoon and bring with them tables, chairs, picnics, drinks - plenty ... in fact just about everything bar the kitchen sink. Its an amazing atmosphere with music being blared out and singing and dancing taking place. You will definitely find it a problem trying to park your car if you leave it too late.

Last years bonfire on Albir beach
However there will be one significant difference this year - the beach authorities have put a ban on any fires to be lit along the beaches. The Coastal Act forbids the lighting of fires although over the last few years this has been relaxed by most Town Halls for this one night. But due to the lack of inspectors to monitor the fires the Town Halls have decided to comply with the regulations.
Although slightly disappointing it will not detract from the partying atmosphere Im sure.

Tables, chairs - all mod cons in fact
But to compensate for the lack of bonfire, Albir Town Hall are erecting a massive screen on the beach so that everyone can watch Spain playing in the Euro quarter finals against France - kick off at 8.45pm. It is bound to be an electric night - I remember when Spain won the World Cup and the atmosphere along Albir beach was amazing.  So prepare you picnics, chill the wine and beer and see you all down there tomorrow night!

Beach parties will take place everywhere along the coast so whether you are in Benidorm, Calpe or Altea just head for the shoreline and join in with the locals.