I´ve been blessed this week with the chance to visit some of my family here in Alicante. Not only have I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my loved ones before I start into working on a three-month long intensive course but I´ve also been lucky enough to be here, in one of my favourite cities in Spain, to celebrate the arrival of summer with the Bonfires of San Juan.
Alicante is one part of Spain which will always have a special place in my heart. I´ve been coming to Alicante for the best part of thirteen years now and have always felt that it´s my home away from home and now, seeing as I have family here, it is my home! And honestly I couldn´t have picked a better time to come home than now!
Every year Alicante celebrates the arrival of the summer with the Bonfires of San Juan. The Bonfires of San Juan is a truly spectacular event in which the people from Alicante and it´s surrounding areas take to the streets of Alicante in there droves in order to ring in the summer in the only way they know how – with a party. Las Hogueras are a celebration of music, colour, art, fireworks and extravagance in which, in my experience anyway, only Spanish people can pull off with such class!
You have to hand it to Spanish people they really know what life is about! They enjoy life to the full and appreciate even the little things in life, such as the subtle move from spring to summer, and pay tribute to them in the most joyous of fashions.
The Bonfires of San Juan were traditionally celebrated in the countryside with a festive dinner and bonfires which people danced around in order to celebrate the start of summer. Now however, due to the influence of Las Fallas in Valencia, they are so much more than mere bonfires! Now Alicante celebrates this event in style with incredibly expensive and artistic figures replacing the once ugly-looking traditional wooden bonfires. You can easily spend hours walking from one figure to the next in awe of the artistic talent that has gone into each one and laughing at the wit and good humor that seems to surround each one! I don´t know about you but I know if I was involved in creating such masterpieces I´d cry at the thought of my work going up in flames! But in true Spanish style it´s all in the name of fun!
Other things that you can expect to find here, apart from the enormous figures, are barracas or large tents which are located beside each figure. In these tents you can expect to find hundreds of Spaniards dressed in traditional clothes dancing, singing, drinking and eating the night away! Typical food you will find are figs and pastries filled with tuna, onions and pine nuts! Yummy!
As I mentioned in the barracas you will find hundreds of Spaniards dressed up in traditional costume, why you may ask? Well the answer is simple! Throughout the festival there are several parades such as the international folkloric dance parade in which hundreds of proud spanish people show off their extravagant costumes and walk for miles in the greatest of spirits showing the world how it should be done!
Fireworks are another important part of this celebration. Not only are there firework displays every day, from the 20 to the 24 June, at two o clock but also they are key to the high point of the festival: the burning of the Bonfires. Before the bonfires all set alight, at midnight, you can witness the beautiful palm tree fireworks along the Explanada. While the bonfires blaze away the atmosphere is electric. Filled with merriment, singing and dancing while the fire-fighters try their hardest to get the right balance between putting out the fires and also showering the crowds with water which is traditionally known as the banyá. Such fun!
Obviously, seeing as this part of the festival is not until tomorrow, I won´t get to witness the burning of the bonfires this year, which is such a pity! I have been apart of it in previous years and I have to say you get so caught up in the atmosphere and the merriment that it makes you feel like a child again! I would really recommend it to anyone of any age! You´re never to old to be a child and, if you ask me, we all need a little bit of child-like fun in our lives every once in a while, it´s what life is all about!
I hope you´ve enjoyed reading about Las Hogueras. Sadly, as usual, my words do not do the festival the justice it deserves; thankfully I have some photos that I took on my phone to show just how amazing this event is! So sit back and enjoy!
I hope you´re having a great weekend wherever you are and as always thank you for reading!