The Night of San Juan (St. John) in Alicante has two clear protagonists: the sea and fire, two allies to attract good luck and push away bad omens on the shortest night of the year. During the Festival of San Juan in Alicante, the entire Costa Blanca is filled with bonfires lighting up the beach and the Mediterranean shores.
Although the Night of San Juan is celebrated on the night of June 23rd to 24th, in Alicante thousands of people take to the streets from the 20th to celebrate this fire-worshipping festival surrounded by music, color, gunpowder, entertainment and (lots of) magic. Firecrackers rumble on incessantly while the locals celebrate their big festival, with all the more reason in 2018 as it will be the 90th anniversary of the Festival of San Juan in Alicante.
To celebrate the coming of summer, the citizens of Alicante would go out to the countryside to have dinner on the night of the summer solstice (June 23rd); they feasted on typical products, lit bonfires, danced around the fire, set off firecrackers and bathed in the sea. This custom endured over the years. In 1928, what are known as the Fiestas de Hogueras de San Juan (San Juan Bonfire Festival) were officially born. The streets are covered in ephemeral artwork, the bonfires along with wooden and cardboard figures that are burnt on the night of San Juan.
Of course, as happens with all good festivals, there are the Major and Child Festival Queens, which in Alicante are known as Bellea del Foc (the Beauty of Fire).
UNMISSABLE EVENTS DURING THE FESTIVAL OF SAN JUAN IN ALICANTE.
The Festival of San Juan in Alicante is much more than a single night of fire, embers and ashes. We at Wiber Rent a Car want you to experience new things, and for this reason we take you a little bit closer to the major feast in Alicante. Rent one of our cars, follow these steps and you will live the true San Juan experience!
- THE SETUP OF THE BONFIRES
This act officially inaugurates the Festival of San Juan in Alicante. During the night of June 20th, each of the city’s districts (98 in total) sets up its own major and children’s bonfire; that is, the wooden and cardboard monuments that will burn on the Night of San Juan.
These sculptures are very similar to the Fallas in Valencia, which are also characterized by satire and humor. For four days the streets will be full of wit and a good humor, before being devoured by the flames.
On this same day the barracas are set up. These places set up as dance floors where festival-goers will also be able to enjoy the typical festive cuisine: a type of pastry stuffed with tuna, onion and pine nuts.
- THE ENTRY OF THE BANDS
Saturday June 16th is the turn of the so-called Entrada de Bandas (the entry of the bands) with their respective “beauties” and ladies-in-waiting wearing traditional farmer clothes. Members of all the commissions from the city’s 98 districts participate at this parade.
- THE FLOWER OFFERING
The flower offering is held on June 21st and 22nd. The “beauties” and ladies-in-waiting from each district parade and offer their flower bouquets to the Virgin of El Remedio, patron of the city.
This offering (a typical event at the patronal feasts of the Community of Valencia) is the oldest of its kind in Spain. Due to the large amount of people parading and the huge quantity of flower bouquets (over 10,000) the act is divided into two turns. A large multicolored tapestry is created at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Nicholas. It can be visited throughout the remainder of the celebrations.
- THE FIRECRACKERS (MASCLETÁ AND FIREWORKS)
Without a doubt, firecrackers are the protagonists of all the feasts in the Mediterranean coast, and so it is with the Festival of San Juan in Alicante: every day from June 19th to 24th at 2:00 p.m. there is a mascletá, a spectacle of gunpowder and sound that must be experienced live to be able to enjoy it will all your five senses.
Additionally, on the two nights following the night of San Juan (June 25th to 29th), a huge fireworks castle is lit at the Postiguet Beach. For 15 minutes, spectators will enjoy a wonderful show of light, gunpowder and sound.
- FOLKLORIC PARADE
The international folkloric parade is one of the most crowded events at the Festival of San Juan. The streets of Alicante are filled with music bands, floats and dancers from different parts of the world, wearing their typical costumes and performing their traditional dances.
This parade is definitely worth seeing, since joy and color are its main protagonists.
- THE BONFIRE CREMATION
If the plantà sets off the beginning of the feast, the cremà marks the end of the Festival of San Juan on June 24th. With British punctuality at midnight sharp, a giant fireworks palm tree is launched from the Santa Bárbara Castle to mark the beginning of the bonfire cremation (the wooden and cardboard monuments).
The first bonfire that starts to burn is the one at the City Hall Square, lighting up the Bellea del Foc with a large burst. From then on each district proceeds to light their own bonfires, which will be devoured by flames all night long. During the cremà, firemen douse people in water to help them withstand the heat that the fires give off. This is known as the banyà. Meanwhile, the music band, as dedicated as if they were sinking with the Titanic, will play the festival song, A la llum de les fogueres s’abaniquen les palmeres, nonstop.
Cremà Nit de Sant Joan. Recuperado de @AlicanteCity
As this year marks the 90th anniversary of the Feast of San Juan, the city of Alicante has been celebrating since June 1st. If you are planning to travel to Alicante you will already be able to experience part of the famous festival that welcomes in the summer.
Are you in? Tell us about your #WiberExperience at the Festival of San Juan in Alicante!