Festival of San Juan

Las Palmas, 23-6-2017

Once a year, in June, The Festival of San Juan takes place right outside my apartment door. All along the beach (about a seven-mile strip) people come for nighttime picnics on the beach and pack all the beach restaurants to meet up with friends and family.
I was invited to join a group of Kinross employees to enjoy my first Festival of San Juan. It was a beautiful night and I was grateful to be included. The twenty-minute walk to the north end of the beach to meet up with them gave me the opportunity to see the celebrations starting up. I noted some groups all wearing colorful wigs and small party hats (like little birthday hats). I found out that those folks were dressing up as “witches” because the festival has a lot of superstitions associated with it. In the past, it was good luck to build a bonfire on the beach and jump over it for good luck. Walking backwards into the ocean at midnight is supposed to get rid of all bad luck. Writing down a wish on a piece of paper and burning it makes it come true.
Midnight rolls around and the fireworks begin.
The promenade was busy and crowded, but nothing like crowds we are used to in the US. Plus, it’s a mellow crowd, with the families being the majority walking with their children, parents, grandparents and aunties and uncles.
For me, the most fascinating part was being able to stroll back home at one a.m., without feeling the slightest bit of concern for safety. Not with families still strolling along the promenade and the beaches were still filled with people walking backwards into the ocean and enjoying their family and friends. This really is a safe and relaxing place to live.
I’ve included some pictures of our dinner and the fireworks.
As far as work goes, I leave for Mauritania on Monday, July 1, after working in Las Palmas for two weeks. I will be doing a three-week rotation there, then return to Las Palmas for rotation and vacation days with Barbara. Barbara arrives July 25.

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