BONFIRES OF SAINT JOHN
WHAT: BONFIRES OF SAINT JOHN
WHEN: BETWEEN 19TH AND 24TH OF JUNE 2023
The Bonfires of Saint John, also known as the Hogueras de San Juan, is a festival that takes place annually in Spain. It is a celebration that combines traditional customs with modern festivities, and is held in many cities throughout the country, but it is most widely celebrated in Alicante.
The origins of the festival date back to pagan times, when people would light bonfires to celebrate the summer solstice. When Christianity arrived in Spain, the festival was adapted to coincide with the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, which is celebrated on June 24th. Today, the festival is a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions.
One of the most iconic aspects of the Bonfires of Saint John is the construction of enormous sculptures called "hogueras" (bonfires) in the streets. These sculptures are made from wood, cardboard, and papier-mâché and can be as tall as several stories high. They often depict satirical scenes, political figures, or caricatures of famous people. The hogueras are usually built by groups of friends or neighbors, and are displayed in the streets for several days before being set on fire on the night of June 23rd.
The burning of the hogueras is accompanied by a huge fireworks display, which lights up the night sky over the city. The sound of explosions and the bright colors of the fireworks create a festive atmosphere that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. In addition to the fireworks, there are also music concerts, parades, and other events taking place throughout the city.
Another important aspect of the festival is the tradition of jumping over the bonfires. It is believed that by jumping over the fire, people can cleanse themselves of bad luck and negative energy, and prepare themselves for the coming year. In some places, people also throw herbs or other objects into the fire, which are said to have healing properties.
The Bonfires of Saint John is also a time for feasting and drinking. Traditional dishes such as paella and seafood are served, and local wine and beer flow freely. The festival is a time for people to come together, socialize, and enjoy the company of friends and family.
The festival culminates in the early hours of June 24th, with the burning of the hoguera called "La Crema," which is the largest and most spectacular of all the bonfires. The crowds gather to watch as the flames consume the structure, creating a spectacular and mesmerizing sight.
While the Bonfires of Saint John is a festival that is deeply rooted in Spanish tradition, it has also evolved over time to incorporate new customs and practices. It is a celebration that brings people together from all walks of life, and is a reflection of the rich cultural heritage of Spain. Whether you are a visitor or a local, the Bonfires of Saint John is an experience not to be missed.