As in Spain and most of Latin America, in Puerto Rico the Fiestas de San Juan [Feast of St. John] is an important holiday, particularly in cities and towns that are close to the sea. St. John’s Day (June 24, the summer solstice) is widely celebrated by big parties on the beaches and bonfires.
On the eve of St. John’s (June 23), people of all ages go to the beach at night with plenty of food and drink. Families build bonfires and stay well into the night (and sometimes camp out all weekend), to eat, drink, and celebrate. According to tradition, if people dive into the ocean backwards (usually twelve times) at midnight it cleanses them of past ills and brings good luck.
Since John the Baptist is the patron saint of the capital city (San Juan), the festivities, including dances, food, sport events, parades, and religious processions have already begun. This weekend San Juan is on festival mode. Yesterday (June 19), San Juan began celebrations with a night of traditional music, featuring dance troupes and bands playing rumba, bomba, and plena. Tonight is Carnival Night, featuring the coronation of the carnival queens. The carnival parade will begin at 7:30pm at the Antonia Quiñones Plaza, following Cervantes Street and Ashford Avenue, and ending at Ventana al Mar Plaza in Condado. On Sunday (Father’s Day), the San Juan Bautista 5K Marathon takes place. Then, on June 23, several San Juan beaches, such as Último Trolley, Ocean Park, and Ventana al Mar in Condado, will host a variety of St. John’s Eve parties.
For more information, see http://www.sanjuancapital.com/noticiasread.asp?r=URZLRAFOJM&tab=1