News: The 2017 Las Hogueras de San Juan festival in Alicante
Las Hogueras de San Juan Festival
Alicante Spain, 20th June 2017
This week Alicante marks the official arrival of summer with the 2017 Hogueras de San Juan (the Bonfires of Saint John).
Undoutedly the single most important events in the Alicantinian diary, the annual celebration begins on Tuesday 20th June 2017 in Alicante and lasts 9 days, ending on Thursday 29th June 2017 with an international fireworks competition.
The traditional festival is deeply rooted in Spanish history dating back to the pre-Christian epoch, with an origin of burning old furniture in the summer to ward off evil spirits, and became formally constituted by Alicante in 1928.
Officially declared to be of international tourist interest, the Las Hogueras de San Juan festival celebrates the arrival of the summer solstice with a spectacular display of Spanish music, vivid colours, and breathtaking fireworks.
Thousands of people fill Alicante's streets to enjoy the remarkable fiesta which pays tribute to fire, and throughout the city more than 200 large satirical paper mache and wooden artistic effigies are displayed (the Fogueres), each of them a work of art.
The festivities reach their pinnacle on Saturday when the ephemeral statues will be paraded through the streets (a procession known locally as the Cabalgata del Ninot), and subsequently burned on the bonfires from midnight on Saturday 24th June 2017 during the dramatic Noche de la Cremà (the Night of Burning) following a glittering palm tree shaped firework display launched from Alicante´s Santa Bárbara Castle.
Between the 19th and 24th June many people head for the Racós and Barraques, tented bars set up in the streets with live music and dancing; or make their way to the beach for the biggest fiesta in Alicante and party throughout the night celebrating the longest day of the year, while firefighters shower the crowds with water in what is known in Spain as the Banyá.
The festivities are not limited to the evenings, and those who prefer to avoid the small hours of the morning can still enjoy the fiesta and find plenty to do and see in Alicante: paella contests, sporting events, a medieval street market, and every day at 2:00pm the marvel of the Mascletá - a magnificent cascade of daytime fireworks and deafening firecrackers.
Early on Wednesday 21st June local residents will be woken at 8:00am by the Desperta, a morning parade with marching bands and firecrackers across all the districts of Alicante. Ear plugs come highly recommended for those planning to sleep late!
The Las Hogueras de San Juan festival in planned months in advance, involves thousands of local people, and requires complex management each year to produce a spectacular family-friendly show that is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
The bonfires in Alicante are kindled in advance with maximum regard for public safety, and are complex works of art in their own right. Each bonfire costs as much as €60,000 to create with the funds provided by a dedicated Bonfire Commission together with donations from residents and local businesses.
For more information about the 2017 Las Hogueras de San Juan festival, visit the official website or click here to view the event schedule (in English language) on the Alicante tourist information centre.