Fogueres – La Cremà
Eden and Ron join the revellers at the local fiesta, Las Hogueras.
This last week had been extremely crazy and chaotic here in Alicante. Four days ago, Las Hogueras, the local fiestas began and today was the day of San Juan, the patron saint of the town, the fiestas so luckily coinciding with the end of term and the start of the schools’ summer holidays. The Hogueras fiestas were evidently an event that reunited family and friends, the population doubled as everyone got together for the most energetic, frenetic street party, which is celebrated in all the neighbourhoods across the town, music and dancing, eating and drinking and everyone determined to have a lot of fun. Such a shame Ron had to start his shift today, as he will miss the main event, the burning of the gigantic wood and papier-mâché statues, erected in all the squares and open spaces, which will commence on the stroke of midnight tonight.
The city’s most important celebration coincides with the arrival of the summer solstice. Throughout the city, over 200 large satirical papier mâché statues are set up.
The Tourism Board of Alicante tell us all about the Fogueres de Sant Joan Festivals, they are one of the most important events in the city’s diary, beginning on the 20th June and lasting until the 29th. It appears the origins of this festival lie in the tradition of making bonfires to burn unwanted objects, which coincided with the arrival of the summer solstice.
There is a proclamation, known as the Pregón, then, as it is a festival dedicated to fire, the installation of the bonfires known as “La Plantà”, including events such as the procession of the effigies (Cabalgata del Ninot), parades and processions in different neighbourhoods of the city and the main event on the 24th June, the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, when large satirical statues made of cardboard and wood are set alight.
The Fogueres go up in smoke during the “Noche de la Cremà“, the spectacular “Night of Burning” which includes the popular “Banyà” or “soaking” as firefighters control the blazes, protect adjacent buildings and meanwhile cool down the singing, dancing throngs around the burning embers, spraying them with their hoses.
The celebrations include events such as the “Mascletàs” (a stunning fireworks and firecrackers competition held from the 20th to the 24th in the Plaza de los Luceros square at 2pm), the procession of the effigies known as the Cabalgata del Ninot, and parades, with a special floral tribute to the Virgen del Remedio.
This year’s festival of fire, Hogueras 2014, is just around the corner, at the end of which my daughter will turn eleven. This morning I want to fish Sylvia’s Novia Alicantina costume out of her wardrobe for the upcoming fiestas, this and her flamenco costumes occupy almost half of the compartment. The skirt and the top require letting out. Last year we bought the attire and all the components in a specialist shop for these traditional, folkloric costumes and accessories, when for the first time my daughter was one of the maids of honour for the Bella de San Roque.