Baptism by Fire / Bautismo por Fuego

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

IT’S OUR LEAST favorite holiday in Spain. Día de San Juan or Noche Blanca (White Night), known elsewhere as St. John’s Day. It’s a holiday that was adapted by the Christians from the pagan observance of Summer solstice, and what it means here in Fuengirola is mind-numbing noise until 3:00 in the morning. As our friend Adrián told us, that’s what we get for living on the First Line, which means we live on the beach. The holiday is celebrated with music and drinking, fireworks at midnight, bonfires (that are jumped at midnight for good luck), a dip in the sea (perhaps to put out the burning clothes from jumping over the fires).

It all sounds like fun except that the chiringuito (beach bar) right across the street from us hosts the biggest party of all and, for some reason, they find it necessary to blast the music so loud as to cause permanent hearing damage to anyone nearby. We closed our windows and our glass curtain. We pulled down the awnings. We closed our shades. We turned on the air-conditioning. And still we didn’t get to sleep (with pounding heads) until after 3:00, when the music is required to stop. Normally, we get a closer look at the fireworks. Normally, I wander the beach and take photos of people jumping over the fires. But this year, after listening to the pounding bass since 4 in the afternoon, I wasn’t interested. Don’t ask me what this all has to do with Saint John the Baptist. And don’t try and explain it to me either. I’m not in the mood. And, no, it’s not because we’re old. I love Bruce Springsteen, but I saw him in concert in the 1970s and had a ringing in my ears for days after.

Oh, I forgot to mention the roaming, color-changing searchlights, which you can see shining into our building in the top photo series. And, although I did get good photos of the fireworks from our terrace, I deleted them from my camera before downloading. We at least escaped the worst of the noise for dinner at Primavera where Fran (our own White “Knight”) made things so much better.


ES NUESTRA FIESTA menos favorita en España. Día de San Juan (o Noche Blanca). Es una fiesta adaptada por los cristianos de la observancia pagana del solsticio de verano, y lo que significa aquí en Fuengirola es un ruido que entumece la mente hasta las 3:00 de la mañana. Como nos dijo nuestro amigo Adrián, eso es lo que obtenemos por vivir en la Primera Línea, lo que significa que vivimos en la playa. El día festivo se celebra con música y bebida, fuegos artificiales a la medianoche, hogueras (que se saltan a la medianoche para tener buena suerte), un baño en el mar (tal vez para apagar la ropa que quema al saltar sobre el fuego).

Todo suena divertido, excepto que el chiringuito que se encuentra al otro lado de la calle es el que organiza la fiesta más grande y, por alguna razón, consideran necesario tocar la música tan fuerte como para causar un daño auditivo permanente a cualquiera. Cerramos nuestras ventanas y nuestra cortina de vidrio. Bajamos los toldos. Cerramos nuestras persianas. Encendimos el aire acondicionado. Y aún así no pudimos dormir hasta después de las 3:00, cuando se requiere que la música se detenga. Normalmente, echamos un vistazo más de cerca a los fuegos artificiales. Normalmente, camino por la playa y tomo fotos de personas que saltan sobre los incendios. Pero este año, después de escuchar el bajo fuerte desde las 4 de la tarde, no estaba interesado. No me preguntes qué tiene que ver todo esto con San Juan Bautista. Y tampoco intentes explicármelo. No estoy de humor. Y no, ¡no es porque seamos viejos … perdón, mayores. Amo a Bruce Springsteen, pero lo vi en un concierto en la década de 1970 y tuve un zumbido en mis oídos durante días después.

Oh, olvidé mencionar los reflectores de roaming que cambian de color, que se pueden ver brillando en nuestro edificio en la foto superior. Y, aunque obtuve buenas fotos de los fuegos artificiales de nuestra terraza, las borré de mi cámara antes de descargarlas. Al menos escapamos de lo peor del ruido para cenar en Primavera, donde Fran (nuestro propio Caballero Blanco) hizo las cosas mucho mejor. NOTA: En inglés, la palabra para caballero es “knight”, que se pronuncia exactamente igual que “night”, la palabra para noche.

At 5:00 p.m. / A las 17:00.
At 11:00 p.m. / A las 23:00.
Our White Knight, Fran, hard at work.
Nuestro Caballero Blanco, Fran, trabando duro.
Disco Inferno / Disco Infierno

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “Baptism by Fire / Bautismo por Fuego”

  1. Now if it was DISCO all night THAT would be fine by me!…..well at least till 11PM!! lol
    I can only imagine the noise! Are we OLD?

    1. Jim,
      We are NOT old. I have never understood the need to shatter ear drums. Used to love the local disco when I was at university… for dancing. But I never lasted more than a half hour. The volume was absurd and my hearing was very good!

  2. I remember that my ancestors some 2500 years ago on Gaul use to celebrate this holiday with huge bonfire and virgin sacrifice. The whole thing was to entice the Sun to return at dawn, they were supersticious and thought the Sun abandon them. Then it turned into a Christian holiday for some Jewish guy (they often do in the Catholic church) but the bonfire remain minus the virgin sacrifice which was a great loss I think. In French Canada we still celebrate with the giant bonfires, music and fireworks but it all ends at 1am. So today in Quebec and in Canada it is la Fête Nationale (we no longer call it St-Jean Baptiste). Obviously them Spaniards do not know how to celebrate. As the police chief would say here in Charlottetown if you complained about the noise, Don’t you have a cottage to go to?

    1. Larrymuffin,
      Well, in all my readings I never knew about the virgin sacrifices. I’d like to sacrifice a chiringuito.

  3. No one’s old here ~ give me a good DISCO INFERNO song all night long!
    1977 ~ twirling at the disco in Halifax!
    Just saying~ winks!

    1. Debra,
      No, they don’t. They came indoors in the afternoon before we even closed things up. Usually I have to drag Dudo back inside at 10 pm.

      1. Jennifer,
        Oh, yes, every single man in Spain is sexy. It’s a requirement.

  4. Itsounds like St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo ….just an excuse for liquor and music and debauchery.
    I don’t need an excuse for any of that.

  5. In France, since the 80s, it’s La Fête de la Musique. All kinds of music in all kinds of venues. But it doesn’t affect our little hamlet much, unless our neighbors’ grandkids use their house for a party. Then it’s BOOM BOOM BOOM all night long until the sun comes up, and then some. Ugh. Get off my lawn! To be honest, we haven’t had a BOOM BOOM BOOM party across the street in a while. The grandkids must be growing up.

    1. Walt the Fourth,
      It’s fascinating that France and French Canada changes the observance from St John. At least there being honest! And I do have to accept the fact that if I want to live in the center of everything, I’m going to be in the center of Everything!

  6. Sorry about the noise, I know that feeling. Might be a good night to take the cats an escape to the country for the night. Know anyone with a farm in the middle of nowhere?

    1. David,
      We’ve talked about planning an escape but taking the cats would be a nightmare. They haven’t traveled and take a lot to adjust to change. And we don’t think it would be kind to leave them alone during that disruption. They get clingy.

    1. Silygirl:
      I know it was loud enough to wake the dead, but I thought maybe saints were immune.

    1. Kirk:
      I LOVE that idea. Remember the guy that led the exercise group to “I Feel Like A Woman”? He would be PERFECT!!!

  7. Christians look at pagan holidays like Melania Trump looks at Michelle Obama speeches.

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: