Monsoon season starts with El Dia de San Juan

From the Librarian Files

In Catholicism, June 24  is the feast day of St. John the Baptist.

According to tradition this day marks the beginning of the monsoon season. There is a legend that the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado prayed for rain on June 24, 1540. Right after his prayers it rained.

John the Baptist ritually cleansed the faithful of their sins in the Jordan River.  So people of Mexico and the American Southwest once followed morning mass on June 24 with a dip fully clothed in the nearest body of water.

In the last part of the 20th Century, public celebrations of El Dia de San Juan faded in Tucson. Public fiestas on the nearby Tohono O’odahm reservation also disappeared.

In 1998, the City of Tucson in partnership with neighborhoods and private organizations revived the tradition of “El Dia de San Juan".

The 20th Annual El Dia de San Juan Fiesta will be celebrated on June 24th, 2017, from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Mercado San Augustine.

For more history and the observances of El Dia de San Juan see the Arizona Daily Star article “El Dia de San Juan retains its monsoon aura", published June 19, 1997 on page C1.


"El Dia de San Juan retains its monsoon aura." Arizona Daily Star. June 19, 1997. Page C1.

"Feast of St. John the Baptist celebrates monsoon’s onset." Arizona Daily Star. June 23, 2008. Page D1.

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