Las Hogueras de San Juan
THE BONFIRES OF SAN JUAN
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Las Hogueras de San Juan
THE BONFIRES OF SAN JUAN
 
Alicante
Las Hogueras de San Juan
including bull fights
20-24th June
 

 


Public holidays : 24th

June, as if its not hot enough, the people of Alicante set fire
 to huge effigies as part of the summer solstice,
'The bonfires of San Juan',  20-24th June, Alicante, Spain.
The most important celebration of the year for local people. Read more.
 ALICANTE Hogueras de San Juan (mid summer day bonfires). Always to include June 24.
 
 
A short history
Since ancient times, the villages of the Mediterranean coast celebrated the coming of the summer solstice around bonfires that cleansed and purified. In Alicante, the ritual of fire survived throughout the centuries as a festivity connected to the farming community.
Bonfires of San Juan
The present-day Hogueras
Las Hogueras de San Juan effigies have been declared Festivities of International Tourist Interest and they are the most important fetivity in the City of Alicante.
Nowadays, nearly 90 hogueras(huge effigies to be burnt) are set up in the city of Alicante, and there are more than ten thousand direct participants of the Festivity, in which the Comisiones de Hogueras (committees in charge of each particular effigy) and Comisiones de Barracas. (committees who control the open-air spaces with bars, dance areas and tables and chairs) play an important role. These festivities are also held in other towns in the Region of Valencia, mainly in the province of Alicante, such as Benidorm, Torrevieja or XÓbia, but also in Nules, in the province of Castellˇn, as an exception.
Among the main acts, we must single out the plantÓ (setting up) of the hogueras and barracas, las mascletaes, (firecrackers) the parades, the offering of flowers, la cremÓ and the firework displays, from the 25th onwards.
 
 
Experience the magic of the evening of San Juan

On the evening of the 23rd come to the Region of Valencia seashore and participate in the magical, festive and open to everyone sense of Mediterranean culture.
The origins of the celebrations of the shortest night of the year, the 23rd June, the eve of the feast of San Juan, are lost in the night of all ages of the different cultures that have populated the Mediterranean. As a pagan festivity that worshipped the arrival of the summer solstice by lighting bonfires on the seashore the Catholic tradition integrated it into the feast of San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist), which is celebrated on 24th June.
Since days of old this custom has been kept alive, as a magic ritual, which is carried out every night of San Juan; thousands of people travel to the beaches or seashore to spend a pleasant and festive evening in the company of family and friends. Bonfires are lit all around the sands making an attractive and seductive image, and around them numerous groups gather to chat, sing, dance and to enjoy the evening. Likewise, numerous quarters and popular associations in Alicante, Castellˇn and Valencia celebrate verbenas (open-air celebration held on the eve of a saint's day) and other festive events on this night.
And when midnight arrives, as a rite handed down from fathers to sons for generations, one has to go to the shoreline and to wet one's feet or to jump a specific number of waves - something to do with the occult and the magical quality of the unknown - while at the same time making one or various wishes, which the arrival of the new season will allow us to see fulfilled.
On this night the door is opened that introduces us to the knowledge of the future and to the magical dimensions of reality. It is the night when the buried burn, the Devil is on the loose and the fields are blessed by John the Baptist, it is also the night when one can believe all kinds of fantastic legends; it is best to open one's mind and spirit, to stop being rational and to fully delight in the imagination and tradition, this formula is exceedingly healthy.
 

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Alicante - Alacant
 Valencia
Tourist Office:
Avenida Rambla Mendez Nu˝ez, 23 - 03002 Alicante
(Alicante - Alacant)
Tel. +34 965200000
 
 
Valencia
Tourist Office:
Calle Paz, 48 - 46003 Valencia (Valencia)
Tel. +34 963986422

 
 

Events in Alicante

 This is Alicante, it's the beginning of summer, and the breeze refreshes the stifling heat of summer and makes the streets cool and welcoming. The barracas (bars set up in the streets) bring a lively sense of fun to the night during the Hogueras de San Juan The festivity starts on the 20th of June, don't miss it! Come to las Hogueras de San Juan!

Experience fully this festivity, feel the welcome of this land and enjoy los castillos, (firework displays), las mascletaes (firecrackers), and the huge effigies that once again are central elements of the festivity and its final triumphal culmination.

A short history
Since ancient times, the villages of the Mediterranean coast celebrated the coming of the summer solstice around bonfires that cleansed and purified. In Alicante, the ritual of fire survived throughout the centuries as a festivity connected to the farming community.

Later, in the XIX Century, this custom transferred to the city. This can be verified, as the first documented history of these simple bonfires goes back to the year 1822, with an edict issued by the Mayor which ordered: "...that bonfires were not to be made in the streets and by no means were firecrackers to be let off, on the night of San Juan and the following nights, subject to a fine of 20 to 100 Reales."

 

The corresponding edict was not issued in 1881, and according to a newspaper of the time, "...After the festivities began with the verbena de San Juan (a dance held in the streets), the peaceful inhabitants were allowed to let off firecrackers, and light bonfires to their heart's content." Taking advantage of the fact that it was no longer forbidden, neighbours from the same streets gathered together and started what was known as festes de carrer (street parties), with popular games, music and the appearance of the forerunners of the ninots (satirical ornamental figures). These neighbourhood bonfires continued in spite of the constant bans.

In 1928 the association called Alicante Atracciˇn, was created, to encourage tourism to the city. With this aim in mind, the Town Hall gave them the authority to organize the first hogueras de San Juan festivities on an official basis. Within a few years, there were more than thirty Hogueras, and in 1932 the maximum representation of the Festivity was established, Bellesa del Foc (The Beauty Queen of Fire).
 

 

 

 

Bonfires of San Juan
The present-day Hogueras
Las Hogueras de San Juan effigies have been declared Festivities of International Tourist Interest and they are the most important festivity in the City of Alicante.

Nowadays, nearly 90 hogueras(huge effigies to be burnt) are set up in the city of Alicante, and there are more than ten thousand direct participants of the Festivity, in which the Comisiones de Hogueras (committees in charge of each particular effigy) and Comisiones de Barracas. (committees who control the open-air spaces with bars, dance areas and tables and chairs) play an important role. These festivities are also held in other towns in the Region of Valencia, mainly in the province of Alicante, such as Benidorm, Torrevieja or XÓbia, but also in Nules, in the province of Castellˇn, as an exception.

Among the main acts, we must single out the plantÓ (setting up) of the hogueras and barracas, las mascletaes, (firecrackers) the parades, the offering of flowers, la cremÓ and the firework displays, from the 25th onwards.

Advice to enjoy fully las hogueras festivity
Many streets in the centre of Alicante will be no-through roads because of la plantÓ de las Hogueras, (the huge effigies are placed in the streets), therefore we recommend that you park on the outskirts of the city and make your way to the centre on foot. Once in the city centre, there is a free bus service will take you round all the hogueras effigies that belong to the special section of the festivity.
The chairs that line the streets where the parades and processions pass can be hired out. If they are vacant, you can sit there for a reasonable price.
Wear comfortable footwear because you are going to be doing a lot of walking if you want to see all the Hogueras.
If the noise gets too much, open your mouth, and don't cover your ears, which make it worse.
If you get too close to a mascletÓ (letting off lots of firecrackers in unison), apart from the noise you could get covered with tiny pieces of coloured paper which come from the exploded firecrackers. Stand with your back to the wind, you will avoid the smoke and the bits of paper.
Always respect the safety perimeter distance marked out.
Don't miss the spectacular palmera (palm tree, from the shape the fireworks make in the sky) firework displays that are set off from the summit of the Santa Bßrbara castle at 12 midnight and which signals the start of the "Nit del Foc" (burning of the effigies).
No Hogueras festivity would be complete without the "coca amb tonyina" (a tuna pastry) and "bacores" (early figs). Tradition states that the savoury pastry and the figs were the typical welcoming meal offered to those who helped to set up the hoguera effigy in the "plantÓ", and it is a meal that is enjoyed throughout the Festivities to this day.

Make a note of the meaning of some of the special terms of these festivities so you don't miss out on anything:
PlantÓ: this is when the hogueras effigies are set up. This usually takes place on the night of the 20th or the 21st.
CremÓ: the act of burning the effigy.
MascletÓ: a spectacular daytime firecracker display.
Palmera: a grand firework spectacle of lights and colours that is set off from the Santa Bßrbara castle, which signals the start of the burning of the hogueras of the city.
DespertÓ: Music in the street at 8 a.m. in the morning, to remind the local inhabitants that the festivities are being celebrated.
Barraca o racˇ fogueril: A meeting place of the commissions of a hoguera and their invited guests.
Bellesa del Foc: Beauty Queen of the festivities chosen from amongst the queens from the various districts of the city.
BanyÓ: This is very popular custom among the younger element of the public, and refers to the soaking they receive from the firefighters during the burning of the effigies.